Threads resembles Twitter in its format, and allows users to sign in with their Instagram account. It has not been launched in the EU yet, due to data privacy concerns.
Tech giant Meta officially launched Threads on July 5, a rival to Twitter, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg reporting more than 10 million sign-ups in its first seven hours. In his inaugural post on the app, Zuckerberg wrote, “Let’s do this. Welcome to Threads,” accompanied by a fire emoji.
What is Threads?
Threads resembles Twitter in its format, allowing users to share short text posts, like, repost, and reply to content. It does not have direct messaging capabilities. Meta’s blog post revealed that posts on Threads can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to five minutes in duration.
Although Threads launched 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 massive user base of over two billion monthly active users. The app has not displayed any advertisements as of now.
Dubbed as the “Twitter-killer app” and “Twitter’s standalone rival”, Threads is accessible in over 100 countries through both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, as mentioned in the blog post. However, the launch in the European Union has been delayed over data privacy concerns.
What has been the reaction to Threads’ launch?
Industry analysts say investors could be excited about Threads’ potential due to its integration with Instagram, which may provide a built-in user base and advertising opportunities.
“It’s as simple as that: if an Instagram user with a large number of followers such as Kardashian or a Bieber or a Messi begins posting on Threads regularly, a new platform could quickly thrive,” strategic financial analyst Brian Wieser said on Substack.
On July 5, Meta’s stock rose by 3 per cent prior to the launch, surpassing the gains of competing tech companies, despite a slight downturn in the broader market. After attracting millions of users on Threads, Meta Platforms rose 1.8 per cent on July 6.
The arrival of Threads coincides with an ongoing exchange of jabs between Zuckerberg and Musk, with both even threatening to engage in a mixed martial arts cage match in Las Vegas. The timing is favorable for Meta to deliver a blow to Twitter as months of tumultuous decision-making by Musk have plagued the social media platform.
In October 2022, Elon Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion, but the company’s value has since plummeted due to advertiser exodus, substantial layoffs, and content moderation controversies. Twitter’s latest move involves restricting the number of tweets users can read per day.
Zuckerberg hopes to reach over one billion users
Zuckerberg addressed Twitter’s challenges in a Threads post, stating, “I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully, we will.”
The integration with Instagram incorporates various privacy considerations. Instagram users who sign up for Threads automatically have a badge displayed on their Instagram profile, but they can choose to hide it. The app also provides options for different privacy settings.
Prominent brands such as Billboard, HBO, NPR, and Netflix swiftly established accounts on Threads, as did celebrities like Shakira, Kim Kardashian, and chef Gordon Ramsay.
Responding to a user who predicted Twitter’s demise shortly after the Threads launch, Zuckerberg advised patience, stating, “We’re only in the opening moments of the first round here.”
(With inputs from AFP and Reuters)