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The gloves are off. There is now a “Civil War” in social media and segments of the Internet. This is because just as Twitter recently announced that it is planning to launch a full-fledged messaging platform, Meta’s Instagram is now planning to release a text-based app that will compete with Twitter.

In the last six months, Twitter, Meta (formerly Facebook), and its sister company, WhatsApp, have been engaging in “copy-innovation” at a breakneck speed. Recently, WhatsApp announced the shipping of a multi-device feature that allows users the same WhatsApp account on multiple phones. Twitter has also started allowing its creators to earn money on its platform through subscriptions for their content. On the AI side of things, the frontline generative AI player, ChatGPT, also announced the launch of its mobile app, which is geared to tackle Google’s dominance in the mobile search side of things while stunting the take-off of the latter’s Bard AI.

As an indication that this plan is a done deal, the company is currently testing the project idea with celebrities and influencers, according to people familiar with the matter. Instagram has been in discussions with select creators for months, although none of them has had access to the full version of the app, according to one of the people.

The app, which will be separate from Instagram but will allow people to connect accounts, may debut as soon as June, according to Lia Haberman, who teaches social and influencer marketing at UCLA and published a screenshot of an early app description. It may eventually be compatible with other Twitter competitor apps, including Mastodon, according to Haberman’s screenshot.

Just like the historical “race to space” that culminated in the Apollo program, which landed humanity on the moon, Internet audiences, brand owners, advertisers, and regulators are witnessing a tectonic shift in the game of play, and the next six months are expected to birth whole new experiences for all stakeholders.