Send news | A new contender for the Twitter crown

Born barely two weeks after Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, a brand new social network wants to take advantage of the turmoil: Post News. Behind the similar form, however, hides a completely different model, where the content creator can be paid, and whose purpose is to “reduce the space between news and social networks” and at the same time guarantee a respectful environment. Five publications in less than 280 words to understand.

Where does Post News come from?

On November 14, Noam Bardin ironically announced on Twitter the launch in testing (“beta”) of a brand new social network, Post News.

Little known to the general public, Noam Bardin, 51, was vice president of products at Google from 2013 to 2021. During this mandate, from 2017, he was also the big boss (“Chief Wazer”) of Waze, which has been owned by Google since 2013.

The undisclosed funding was provided by venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z. The paradox is that this fund also gave 400 million US dollars to Musk’s purchase of Twitter. Kryptofonden a16z is also a major investor in cryptocurrencies and web3, with fundraising totaling USD 7.6 billion in nine years. Mr. Bardin denied being “a big fan” of cryptocurrencies.

“The Post News, as we can see, is really rooted in a functional capitalist system,” notes Laurence Grondin-Robillard, PhD student in communication at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) and lecturer at the School of Media. I find it opportunistic. It’s not necessarily a negative, but I would have waited a bit before launching. »

What is the basic concept?

First, like Twitter, it’s a thread where you can post messages, subscribe to specific accounts whose posts you can forward to your own followers, approve them with a thumbs up, or start a discussion. But we quickly notice two fundamental differences: we can give a “tip” (tip) to the author of a publication, and upon publication, the latter can ask interested parties for an amount in points so that they can read it. These points can be earned by paying with a credit card or received from other users. A point is simply 1¢ US. Once we have accumulated 5000, or US$50, we can pay them out through an intermediary, Stripe.


Example of creating a paid publication

A scan of our Post feed didn’t find many paid posts, which still seem very rare. Reuters, in particular, asks for 5 or 3 points for certain news.


A paid publication of Reuters

And that’s all? Posts for redeemable points?

No way. It’s just the mechanics of Post. The philosophy behind this new social network was summed up by one of its senior officials, Andrew Zalk. It is “a place for people to discover, view, discuss and share quality news content without subscriptions or advertising”.

Although there is more innocuous content, such as health wishes for the holidays or jokes about pets, the majority of posts relate to current events.

The other main principle, of course in the context of Twitter allowing previously banned content, is to avoid publications deemed toxic. “Posters”, the name for subscribers to this network, can signal their disagreement, but without denigrating their interlocutor or insulting them for their gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity.

For meme Grondin-Robillard, who was able to open his account on Thursday, is not rosy. She flushed after extensive investigations into the platform’s data usage policies, which seem suspicious to her. “There is a lot of data collection. They use as many as the others, but they have no ads. Who are they going to sell them to? »

And moderation is effective?

Founder Noam Bardin recognizes this in several publications, the challenge is daunting. “It’s a game of cat and mouse,” he wrote. Bad players in our room have had 15 years to hone their skills. He asks Posters to report any offensive posts and not to encourage their authors. “If you come across a troll on the loose, report it and ignore it, don’t engage [dans un échange avec lui]. »

This is one of the reasons why we have deliberately limited access to Post since launch. As of December 21, the latest report shows a waiting list of 610,000 people who have applied for an account and 309,000 who have been accepted. 60 hours after his request, the author of these lines could finally get an account. Post News is still in its infancy, and many features, including a mobile app and a premium content feed, are still in the works.

Is Post News really threatening Twitter?

We have 309,000 accepted subscribers on the one hand and 259.4 million daily users on the other, on Twitter, according to the latest report provided by Elon Musk on November 22… A month after its birth, Post is no longer clearly not in the same league. But another rival, Mastodon, has seen explosive growth, jumping from 300,000 users in October to 2.5 million as of Dec. 20, according to a post by its founder, Eugen Rochko. Another social network, Hive Social, also took advantage of the Twitter storm to reach one million users, it announced on November 21.

Laurence Grondin-Robillard’s verdict: “I’m staying, but with caveats. I’m trying to be careful. I wouldn’t tell people who want to leave Twitter to go to Post. She noted, for example, that Post has created empty shells, unused accounts for some businesses such as The New Yorker where we invite the “Posters” to subscribe to convince these publishers to be active on the new social network. Without a single publication, the account of it can The New Yorker already has 22,410 subscribers. “I don’t like this aggressive technique to get media. »

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