Meta’s Twitter alternative app is another step closer, with the experimental, text-based messaging feed now getting its own icon, as per the latest back-end code discovery.
The icon above, as uncovered by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, will soon be what you’ll see on your device when you have the app installed, with a Twitter-esque color scheme that also still maintains the Instagram gradient approach.
Meta’s been developing its Twitter alternative platform over the past few months, amid rising unrest among Twitter users sparked by Elon Musk’s changes at the app. With more people seemingly seeking an alternative real-time update feed, Meta, as usual, has sensed an opportunity, and with the network effects of Instagram on its side, it seems to be looking to step on Twitter’s turf, in the hopes of scooping up this potentially significant audience.
Back in March, Meta confirmed that it was indeed working on a text-based, decentralized chat app, designed, it explained, to capitalize on a market opportunity for creators and public figures to ‘share timely updates about their interests’.
As you can see in these images, shared by ICYMI’s Lia Haberman, the app will essentially be a simplified version of Twitter, more aligned with a chat-based feed, which will ideally help Meta tap into the behavioral shift of social interactions toward private chats, as well as the steady migration of Twitter users who are seeking new pastures.
The separate app, still tentatively titled ‘Barcelona,’ will function as an offshoot of IG, with users entering their Instagram credentials to log in. People will be able to post text updates of up to 500 characters, and add links, photos, and even videos up to 5 minutes in length in-stream.
It will also, as noted, be decentralized, though it’s not entirely clear what that means in a Meta context as yet, or how it will align with other decentralized social offerings.
And while Instagram had remained tight-lipped on the project, with even Mark Zuckerberg joking about it in a recent discussion with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, the rumor mill suggests that it’ll be launched in Summer – though it could even be sooner than that, based on examples we’ve seen.
The app now seemingly has a welcome screen, a functioning UI, and its own icon – it seems to be close to a fully functioning platform. Meta may still want to test it internally for a while, or it may even want to wait for the perfect time to launch, maybe when Elon makes another significant change at Twitter, which prompts another mass exodus of users.
But it does look set to shake things up – and with Instagram having around four times the total user base of Twitter, if it works out, it could actually become a more viable real-time alternative, depending on who’s posting there, and how functional the platform is.
On the former, Meta’s also, reportedly, offering early access to various celebrities and high-profile sports stars at present.
If it can get enough of them on board – and worth noting, too, that many high-profile Twitter users are still upset with Elon for removing their blue checkmarks. If Instagram wins that crew over, and gets them sharing regular updates to its new app instead, that could be a massive step.