Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has officially launched its Twitter competitor, Threads, just three months after announcing its plans for the app. The response has been remarkable, with 30 million sign-ups already reported, including prominent brands, celebrities, journalists, and other notable accounts. The app quickly became the top free app on Apple’s App Store and a trending topic on Twitter, highlighting its potential to pose a significant challenge to Twitter.
Twitter has faced criticism since Elon Musk assumed control of the platform in October 2022 and has been perceived to lack a coherent strategy. Many Twitter users have expressed interest in alternative platforms since Musk took over, citing technical issues and policy changes as frustrations. Recent controversies, such as the temporary limit on daily content viewing, have left Twitter vulnerable. For Meta, Threads offers the opportunity to expand its portfolio of popular apps and divert Twitter’s fan following to Threads.
Instagram Threads, a spin-off app from Instagram, differentiates itself by prioritizing conversations over visual content. By seamlessly logging in with their Instagram accounts, users gain access to share text updates and engage in public discussions. Threads’ design resembles Instagram’s comment section, incorporating Twitter-like functionalities such as replying and re-sharing posts. With expanded posting options, including longer text limits, links, and multimedia elements, Threads provides a versatile platform for expression. Unlike Twitter, the app forgoes hashtags and trending sections, creating a unique user experience centred around meaningful conversations.
Threads’ initial success can be attributed to its smooth sign-up process, leveraging Instagram’s massive user base of 2.35 billion individuals. By logging in with their existing Instagram accounts, users bypass the need to fill out personal details, with their bios automatically transferred. This frictionless onboarding process has accelerated user adoption rates and eliminated barriers to entry. For users familiar with Twitter, Threads offers a comfortable transition. Imported followers from Instagram populate the feed, allowing for a smooth interaction with familiar faces. Notably, the absence of sophisticated search functions and direct post-sharing sets Threads apart from its competitors.
Meta has set a 500-character limit for messages posted on Threads, and users can reply to, repost, and quote others’ posts, much like on Twitter. The app also incorporates Instagram’s features, allowing users to directly share Threads posts to Instagram Stories. Threads users can choose to have public or private accounts, and verification on Instagram automatically carries over to Threads. Upon joining Threads, users are assigned an ID based on their joining order, indicating their rank within the app’s user community. This unique identification badge appears beneath their name or username on their Instagram profiles, informing their followers about their Threads presence. For users under the age of 18, a default private profile is established for added security.
Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, expressed his vision for Threads in a post following the launch, stating that the aim is to create a friendly public space for conversations that capitalizes on Instagram’s strengths. Threads is available in over 100 countries and supports more than 30 languages on both Apple’s iOS and Android platforms.
While Meta’s scale and infrastructure provide a head start, the challenge lies in maintaining long-term user engagement. As Threads by Meta continues to evolve, it is likely to introduce new features and enhancements to further enrich the user experience. With its innovative approach to social connectivity, Threads has the potential to reshape the social media landscape and redefine how we interact and share online.