Facebook-parent Meta has launched its new app Threads, aiming to provide a real-time, public conversation space similar to Twitter. The app garnered significant attention, with 30 million sign-ups within a day, including prominent accounts from various fields. As Threads quickly climbed the App Store charts, many users speculated about its potential as a “Twitter killer.” This article explores everything known about Meta’s Threads and its implications for the social media landscape.
What is Threads?
Threads, developed by Meta, is a new app that draws inspiration from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Users can engage in conversations through text-based posts, with the option to share photos and videos. The platform’s design incorporates elements from Instagram, including navigation and aesthetics, and allows for direct sharing of Threads posts to Instagram Stories. The character limit for Threads posts is 500, and users can reply to, repost, and quote others’ content. Verified Instagram accounts are automatically verified on Threads as well.
Signing Up and Leaving:
To sign up for Threads, users can use their existing Instagram accounts and retain their username, password, and account name. Although the bio can be customized, leaving Threads is not as straightforward. Deactivating the profile temporarily is possible, but deleting the Threads profile requires deleting the associated Instagram account. Threads have also raised concerns about data collection, including location, contacts, search and browsing history, and contact information.
Threads is available in over 100 countries and supports over 30 languages on Apple’s iOS and Android platforms.
Threads vs Twitter: A Potential Rival?
With the launch of Threads, many speculate whether it could pose a serious challenge to Twitter, especially given recent user dissatisfaction. Twitter has faced criticism since Elon Musk assumed platform control, accompanied by a seemingly erratic approach. Recent controversies like temporary content viewing limits have further frustrated users. Meta’s Threads could exploit Twitter’s vulnerability while expanding its popular app empire and offering a new ad platform.
Meta’s existing user base, particularly Instagram’s 2 billion active users, gives Threads a significant advantage over Twitter, which has around 250 million active users. Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, expressed his ambition to create a public conversation app with over 1 billion users and believes Twitter missed that opportunity. While Twitter’s new CEO acknowledged Threads’ launch, she emphasized the uniqueness and irreplaceability of the Twitter community.
The Challenge of User Engagement:
Although Meta has the advantage of a large user base, the challenge lies in sustaining long-term user engagement. Retaining users and preventing issues like spam, harassment, conspiracy theories, and false claims will be crucial for Threads’ success. Meta’s Community Guidelines will apply to Threads to address these challenges. The app’s launch coincides with campaign season for the 2024 US Presidential election, raising concerns about potential waves of misinformation.
Apart from increasing engagement, Threads could supplement Meta’s core advertising business. While the app does not currently feature ads, Meta aims to leverage its massive user base to drive ad revenue. However, Threads might not attract as many ad dollars as Meta’s other platforms. Additionally, the competitive nature between Meta’s CEO, Zuckerberg, and Twitter’s CEO, Musk, could be a driving factor in the battle of social networks.
What else is in it for Meta?
Meta’s Threads has made a strong start, amassing millions of sign-ups and raising expectations as a potential challenger to Twitter. By combining features from various platforms, Meta aims to provide a unique space for real-time conversations. As Threads gains momentum, Meta must ensure user engagement and address challenges related to spam, harassment, and misinformation. With its large user base and established infrastructure, Meta has a strategic advantage over other contenders to dominate the social media landscape.