Meta is on the brink of releasing a Twitter-rivaling app, with chosen creators currently getting a rundown on the workings of Instagram's text-centric app, provisionally named 'Barcelona.'
From the images shared by Lia Haberman from ICYMI, it's evident that the new platform is a pared-down variant of Twitter, more in sync with a conversation-oriented feed. This approach is intentional as IG's principal feed has evolved into a discovery platform with conversations mainly shifting to DMs and users gradually distancing from public posting.
Aligned with this trend, the novel standalone app is envisioned as a colossal group chat open to anyone – a concept akin to Twitter but with a distinct Instagram touch. Users can log in using their Instagram credentials and can synchronize their IG followers. The app allows users to post text updates up to 500 characters and share links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes long.
As depicted in the main feed's image, users can reply to posts in-stream, similar to Twitter's retweeting feature, with options to like, reply, and repost.
Built on a decentralized back-end, Barcelona is Meta's first foray into building a decentralized network, enhancing profile compatibility with other decentralized systems. This move permits users on decentralized apps to search for, follow, and interact with public profiles or approved followers. It aids in reaching new audiences without additional efforts and possibly opens up avenues for creators to connect with potential followers.
While Barcelona could be seen as a Twitter rival, it is also Meta's attempt to align with the evolving usage trends and explore the potential of a more open, decentralized system to serve social media users better.
Notably, Meta has been updating creators about the app, and some celebrities and sports stars are rumored to have early access, gearing up for a public launch.
Instagram has been capitalizing on the DM engagement trend, releasing several updates such as Broadcast Channels and 'Notes.' Barcelona, a dedicated chat app, seems to be the next progression and could indeed pose serious competition for Twitter.
Considering Instagram's billion-plus daily active users against Twitter's 253 million, Meta's strategy to transition these users to Barcelona could rapidly scale it into a Twitter-like stream. This move could result in Twitter users shifting to the new platform.
Twitter has managed to retain its user base despite changes implemented by Elon Musk. The new app's ability to import IG audiences could be a significant advantage, potentially dealing a severe blow to Twitter by providing a more viable alternative.
Elon's recurrent advice to those dissatisfied with his changes to find another platform may now find more takers. This shift could also affect advertiser attention if Meta eventually decides to monetize Barcelona, which will not feature ads in the initial version.
Expected to launch next month, Barcelona is an exciting experiment that could profoundly impact the social media landscape.