Sunday, May 26, 2024

Twitter alternative T2 readies expansion with launch of invites system

The Twitter alternative T2, founded by Twitter and Google veterans, is ready to expand. Launched into alpha testing earlier this year, T2 will today begin to roll out its first invites to its small community of testers, allowing them to bring their friends to the service, instead of only offering waitlist sign-ups as before.

Currently, T2 has less than 1,000 users on its social networking platform, which makes it a much smaller service than the increasingly popular Twitter clone Bluesky, backed by Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey. Recently, Bluesky said it has grown its user base to around 20,000 people, despite also being in an invite-only mode. Plus, it now has native apps for both iOS and Android, while T2 only offers a web app for the time being.

Starting today, each T2 user will initially receive five invites to start, which the team hopes will bring on board at least 500 to 1,000 news users who will have immediate connections to someone else on the platform. The company notes that invites aren’t the only means of joining T2 — it will continue to onboard users from its waitlist, as well.

After the initial five invites are expired, users will be able to @ the main T2 account, the founders or reply to the email they received with the initial invites to request more.

This would presumably make T2 easier to get into compared with Bluesky, where invites are still somewhat scarce. There appears to be greater consumer demand for Bluesky than there is access, as the app has seen some 240,000 installs, per data sourced by — a figure that’s much larger than the actual Bluesky community. That lack of access could possibly push people to try T2 instead.

Though it’s far too early to determine a winner in the race to become the “new Twitter” as Twitter itself flounders under Elon Musk’s chaotic leadership, T2’s potential advantage is in its leadership.

T2 co-founder Gabor Cselle sold his prior companies to Twitter and Google before founding T2, while co-founder Sarah Oh was Twitter’s former human rights advisor. The startup also recently brought on Discord’s former Senior Director of Engineering Michael Greer as its new chief technology officer.

However, much like Bluesky, T2 so far is only offering what feels like a stripped-down version of Twitter without all the extra features like DMs, Communities, Bookmarks, Lists, Trends and others. And while Bluesky is based on the AT Protocol, a decentralized social networking protocol and alternative to ActivityHub (which powers the open source Twitter alternative Mastodon), T2 has not yet committed to federating its content with ActivityPub.

“We’re looking into that, but we don’t have any concrete plans right now around decentralization,” Cselle told TechCrunch last month. He also said the team had begun playing around with the AT protocol, adding that they’re “tracking it with curiosity,” but don’t have plans around federation.

To date, T2 has largely been targeting former Twitter users to join its network. It even launched a verification system that allowed Twitter’s elite to retain their “legacy” Twitter verification checkmarks before those were removed by Musk. Today, 40% of T2’s community are verified users — either “legacy verified” or having gone through T2’s own verification process to receive a checkmark of their own.

T2 says the new invites will be sent out via email, starting today.

Twitter alternative T2 readies expansion with launch of invites system by Sarah Perez originally published on TechCrunch

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