A rush to capitalize on Twitter chaos : Social media rivals sense opportunity as platform grapples with Musk's entry.

Last month, employees at Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, joined a virtual brainstorming session to discuss how to build the next Twitter.

Among the ideas Meta's workers talked over, according to posts of the conversation that were viewed by The New York Times, was a more extensive rollout of a feature called Instagram Notes, in which people can share short messages on Instagram with their followers and friends.

Others said Meta should build a text-focused app using Instagram's technology or add another feed to Instagram. They floated names for the features such as RealTime, Real Reels and Instant.

'' Twitter is in crisis and Meta needs its mojo back,'' one Meta employee wrote in a post. '' LET'S GO FOR THEIR BREAD AND BUTTER.''

A race is on to dethrone Twitter and capitalize on the chaos of its new ownership under Elon Musk, the tech mogul who bought the social media company for $44 billion in late October.

Questions have swirled about how viable Twitter is, as Mr. Musk has laid off thousands of employees, started changing the platform's content rules and proclaimed that the company is in such dire financial shape that bankruptcy is possible.

Sensing opportunity, all manner of people and companies have jumped in to fill the potential breach. Apart from employees at Meta, former Twitter workers have begun projects for what they say could be the next Twitter.

Start-ups like Post and niche services like Mastodon and Hive Social are joining in, as is the microblogging platform Tumbir.

Some of these services are presenting themselves as less toxic versions of Twitter, which has reversed suspension of some users and reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former President Donald J. Trump. Others are positioning themselves as heralds of a completely new era in social media.

''The toxicity that surrounds Twitter and some of the behavior of the new ownership led me to believe there's an enormous opportunity for a microblogging website with a different business model,'' said Scott Galloway, an investor in Post and a marketing professor at New York University.

''There's a lot of opportunity right now to take from social media platforms, and people sense the opportunity.''

Since Mr. Musk took over Twitter, some prominent users have said they would leave the service, including the talk show host Whoopi Goldberg, the producer Shonda Rhimes and the singer Sara Bareilles. Other users have expressed interest in migrating to other services.

It's unclear what Twitter's user numbers are now, since Mr. Musk has taken the company private, but he has said use is at a high.

''Record number of users are logging in to see if Twitter is dead, ironically making it more alive than ever!'' he tweeted last month.

Mr. Musk didn't respond to requests for comment, and Meta declined to comment.

After Mr. Musk bought Twitter, one alternate service that immediately gained attention was Mastodon, which is known as a federated platform and functions as a collection of social networks.

Started in 2016 by Eugen Rochko, a software developer who is now 29, Mastodon, by design, can't enforce platform-wide policies on what posts to keep up or take down. And because Mastodon's original source code is publicly available, anybody can create an individual version of the service.

Since the beginning of last month, Mastodon accounts have grown nearly 33 percent to six million, according to the federated platform guide Fediverse.party. Mastodon has no ads and remains mostly crowdfunded. It has hired more employees and encouraged people to start their own versions of Mastodon.

Mastodon did not respond to requests for comment.

Last month, Hive Social, a social network founded in 2019, also more than doubled the number of its users, to 1.8 million. Its founder, Raluca Pop, 24, attributed part of the growth to the movement of fan communities, like those for K-pop and ''Star Wars,'' away from Twitter to a new home on Hive Social.

The tiny company is trying to take advantage of the newfound interest to raise funding and hire more employees. Hive social is funded through loans taken out by Ms. Pop, as well as $25,000 from a private investor and more than $300,000 from a crowdfunding campaign.

It has four employees and is hoping to hire content  moderators and more engineers, Ms. Pop said.

Mr. Musk has noticed the Twitter alternatives. Last month, he tweeted at least three crude comments about Mastodon before deleting them. After a Twitter user questioned the rise of Hive Social in a tweet, Mr. Musk replied with a rude internet shorthand for ''hilarious''.

The World Students Society thanks author Kalley Huang, and contributors Ryan Mac and Erin Griffith.


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