Instagram previews its upcoming Twitter competitor

Instagram logo on a smartphone lying flat on a table
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A Meta executive has showcased its Twitter rival to employees during a company meeting.
  • The new app will be based on Instagram and will supposedly be called "Threads."
  • Instagram has reportedly reached out to a number of celebrities and public figures to become early users of the app.

Instagram was previously rumored to be developing a text-based app that would compete with Twitter, and now some fresh intel has given us a glimpse of its interface along with more details about its features.

The screenshots, which were shared by Meta chief product officer Chris Cox during a company meeting and obtained by The Verge, reveal that the upcoming Twitter rival has the same interface as Instagram. Codenamed "Project 92," it will presumably be a standalone app and could see daylight by the end of this month.

It also appears to have a number of features that are similar to Twitter, such as threaded replies, a heart reaction, a share button, and a reposting option. Previous reports suggested that users could post text messages up to 500 characters long (which pale in comparison to Twitter's character limit), as well as photos and videos.

Interface of Instagram's upcoming text-based app

(Image credit: The Verge)

Users will be able to sign in using their Instagram credentials, and their account data, such as their bio, will transfer over. According to The Verge, it will be publicly known as "Threads" and will be decentralized due to its integration with the ActivityPub protocol. This implies that users may seamlessly transfer their accounts and followers to other platforms that support ActivityPub, such as Mastodon.

The goal is to provide users with an app built with "safety, ease of use, [and] reliability" in mind, Cox was quoted as saying. The Meta executive also said: "We’ve been hearing from creators and public figures who are interested in having a platform that is sanely run, that they believe that they can trust and rely upon for distribution."

Cox's comments were seen as a veiled criticism of Twitter, which has been criticized for its handling of misinformation and abuse. Twitter has also been facing financial challenges, and its stock price has fallen significantly in recent months.

The development of Instagram's text-based app comes at a time when Twitter is facing increasing competition and business challenges. Twitter's user growth has been stagnant in recent years, and the company has been criticized for its slow pace of innovation.

Instagram is hoping that its new app will appeal to users who are looking for a more text-based social media experience. The app could also help Instagram attract new users who are not currently on the platform.

Cox also confirmed that Meta was in talks with celebrities and public figures like Oprah and the Dalai Lama to become early users of the app. Given Meta's access to billions of users through its suite of social media apps, it definitely has the upper hand in this race.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.