Instagram’s New Text-Based App: A Fusion of Instagram and Twitter?

Recent leaks suggest that Instagram, the popular photo-sharing platform, may be working on a text-based app to compete with Twitter. According to a report by Lia Haberman, who shared details in her ICYMI Substack newsletter, a leaked marketing slide sheds light on the rumored app’s features and potential impact.

The leaked slide refers to the app as “Instagram’s new text-based app for conversations,” with internal codenames P92 or Barcelona. Users will reportedly be able to sign in using their existing Instagram credentials, seamlessly transferring their followers, handle, bio, and verification to the new app.

The app’s interface is said to resemble a hybrid of Instagram and Twitter, offering a familiar experience to users. The leaked screenshots displayed in the marketing slide support this claim. Users will have a feed where they can make text posts of up to 500 characters, accompanied by links, photos, and videos.

One notable feature highlighted in the leaked slide is the emphasis on moderation controls. The app is said to provide users with settings to manage who can reply to their posts and mention their account. Blocked accounts on Instagram will also carry over to the new app, maintaining a consistent user experience.

What sets this rumored text-based app apart is its potential for decentralization. The leaked slide states that Instagram’s app will be compatible with certain other apps like Mastodon. This compatibility would allow users on these platforms to search for, follow, and interact with profiles and content on the text app, subject to privacy settings and approval. Meta, the parent company of Instagram, has been exploring technologies like ActivityPub, which facilitate this kind of interoperability.

Should the app see a widespread release, it could further cement Instagram’s position as a popular social media destination. As Twitter’s decline continues, many users are actively seeking alternative platforms for sharing tweet-like updates. While platforms such as Mastodon and Bluesky have gained traction, an Instagram-based text app would enable existing Instagram users to continue posting without the need to rebuild their following on another platform.

When approached for comment, Meta declined to provide any details about the rumored app. However, in a statement given to Platformer in March, they mentioned their exploration of a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates. Meta believes there is an opportunity to provide a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests.

As the competition between social media platforms intensifies, it will be interesting to see if Instagram’s text-based app becomes a reality and how it may reshape the way we engage in online conversations.

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