Meta, like other tech giants, has a record of copying features of competitors’ platforms and implementing them into its own services. The classic example being Reels, launched in 2021, which is technically a very Instagramified version of TikToks. Many of us, especially Gen Z users such as myself, even forgot that Instagram Stories, launched in 2016, were a replication of a product found in Snapchat. Next on Zuckerberg’s list is a Twitter ripoff, sorry, I mean alternative. 

The company is still ramping up monetization of Reels, but Stories now accounts for more than a quarter of Instagram’s worldwide ad revenue, according to Insider Intelligence.

Due to the decline in popularity of Twitter, mostly down to Musk’s multiple off putting changes on the app, social media veterans and analysts see the planned Instagram alternative as a formidable competitor for Twitter.

Since Musk’s takeover of Twitter in October, many Twitter users have voiced that they want an alternative. Over the past nine months, the company has experienced numerous technical issues, removed thousands of employees, lost users and advertisers, and was criticised for how the service moderates content. Musk last week took steps to limit how many posts users can see on the platform, saying he wanted to combat “extreme levels of data scraping.”

The competition between the two companies has reached a climax as Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and Musk publicly discussed the possibility of physically fighting each other.

Meta isn’t the first to attempt creating an alternative. Apps like Mastodon, Truth Social and Bluesky have gained users but have yet to emerge as a true rival to Twitter. Meta’s biggest advantage will be drawing upon its more than two billion monthly active Instagram users to launch its new app. It is unclear how broadly Meta will release the app upon its launch, but if even a fraction of its Instagram users try it out, Meta might be able to grow its microblogging app’s user base quickly. Twitter has 363.7 million monthly users, according to an estimate provided by Insider Intelligence.

There are signs, however, that some of Musk’s changes are working. As of June, Twitter had as many as 850,000 subscribers of its Blue service, according to an estimate from Travis Brown, a Berlin-based software developer who tracks social-media platforms. Additionally, the company’s new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, joined the company last month, bringing with her a strong network, credibility and reputation in the advertising industry.

For 2023, Twitter is expected to generate $3 billion in advertising revenue, according to an estimate provided by Insider Intelligence. In 2021, the last year in which it disclosed annual financials before Musk took the company private, Twitter generated $4.51 billion in advertising revenue.

A Meta microblogging service should generate at least that much revenue, but there are a number of factors that indicate Meta could squeeze more, said Sayantan Mukhopadhyay, a Silicon Valley product manager who has previously worked at Meta, Pinterest and Twitter. Meta has a larger user base than Twitter, a deeper roster of advertisers and a more robust repertoire of advertising tools and products, meaning it should be able to show more higher-priced ads to a larger pool of microblogging users, Mukhopadhyay said.

Categorized in: