Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, has unveiled Threads, a new social media platform aimed at challenging Twitter’s dominance. The launch of Threads comes at a time when Twitter is facing criticism due to a series of controversial decisions made by its owner, Elon Musk. Within hours of its release, Threads attracted millions of users, including celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, as well as prominent politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, expressed excitement about the platform’s rapid sign-up rate, boasting 10 million users within seven hours.
Industry analysts believe Threads’ integration with Instagram could give it a significant advantage, leveraging the platform’s vast user base and advertising capabilities. This could potentially divert ad revenue from Twitter, which is currently trying to revive its struggling business under new leadership. While Threads operates as a standalone app, users can log in using their Instagram credentials and follow the same accounts, making it a seamless addition for Instagram’s 2 billion monthly active users.
Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at investment firm AJ Bell, stated that investors are intrigued by the prospect of Meta creating a “Twitter-Killer.” Others see the launch of Threads as an opportunity to establish a less toxic and more positive version of Twitter. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in her post on Threads, expressed hopes for good vibes, a strong community, excellent humor, and reduced harassment.
Similar to Twitter, Threads features short text posts with options for liking, reposting, and replying. However, it lacks direct messaging capabilities. Posts can be up to 500 characters long and can include links, photos, and videos up to five minutes in length. The app is available in over 100 countries on both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.
Meta’s stock saw a 3% increase ahead of the Threads launch, surpassing gains made by rival tech firms. This launch comes amidst an ongoing rivalry between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, with the two publicly trading jabs and even joking about a real-life mixed martial arts cage match.
Twitter has faced numerous challenges, including declining value following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform for $44 billion last year. Staffing cuts, content moderation controversies, and limitations on the number of tweets users can read per day have further eroded Twitter’s popularity among users and advertisers. Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the difficulties associated with public social media platforms and expressed his hopes of creating a successful app with over 1 billion users, an opportunity he believes Twitter has missed.
Regarding privacy, Threads integrates with Instagram while offering various privacy settings for each app. Notably, the app did not display any advertisements upon launch. Meta has been actively reaching out to social media influencers to attract them to Threads, encouraging them to post at least twice a day. Previous attempts by other platforms to compete with Twitter, such as Mastodon, Post, Truth Social, and T2, have remained relatively small.
While Meta has encountered failures in launching standalone apps in the past, including its short video competitor to TikTok called Lasso, the company has incorporated similar features directly into Instagram with Reels. Zuckerberg responded to a user’s prediction of Twitter’s demise shortly after Threads’ launch, suggesting that it’s too early to determine the outcome and likening the situation to the first round of a fight.