Meta Platforms, which owns the social networks Facebook and Instagram, launched the text network Threads overnight. He wants to compete with Twitter with it. The application is available in about 100 countries worldwide but not in the European Union due to uncertainties regarding the use of personal data. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that ten million users signed up for the new network in the first seven hours.
According to AFP, users of the new platform were greeted by Zuckerberg, whose first message received several thousand “likes” in a matter of minutes, a sign that the newcomer to social media has had a successful start.
As the media points out, the Threads app is similar in appearance and functionality to Twitter. However, users can write longer messages. Their maximum length can be 500 characters; on Twitter, it is 280 for most users. Published videos can be up to five minutes long on the new platform.
Instagram has over two billion monthly active users, while Twitter has around 364 million.
Logging in to Threads is possible via Instagram. According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), this is “a strategic maneuver that can help the app quickly gain popularity.” Instagram has over two billion monthly active users, while Twitter has around 364 million. Therefore, if the new network, whose name can be translated as “Threads,” starts to be used by at least a fraction of Instagram users, it could overgrow.
Minutes after the launch, brands such as HBO and Netflix and celebrities such as Shakira and other celebrities set up accounts on the new social network. Among them is former Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg. Meta reaches out to social media influencers to build a user base and lures them into a new app. It encourages them to post at least twice a day, said Ryan Detert, CEO of influencer marketing firm Influential. In their first posts, some influencers thanked them for early access to the app.
Since Elon Musk took over Twitter last year, many users of the eponymous network have clarified that they would like an alternative. The German government, for example, said on Monday that it was considering switching to other communication channels because of the changes to Twitter.
The WSJ also recalled this week that Twitter has struggled with technical problems, the loss of some advertisers, and criticism for not adequately moderating content in recent months. But none of the startups, be it Mastodon, Truth Social, or Bluesky, have yet emerged as actual competitors to Twitter.
However, history does not play well with Meta. The firm has suffered several failures in launching its imitations of apps — particularly in the case of Lasso, which was supposed to be a competitor to the short-video-sharing app TikTok. The company later incorporated the short video tool Reel directly into Instagram. Recently, to cut costs, it shut down the division tasked with designing experimental applications.
The company has also downplayed the importance of news content on its platforms in fighting the proposal for forced payment to news publishers.
The new app also comes after criticism of Meta’s business practices. Last year, whistleblower Frances Haugen said the company prioritized “profits over security” and criticized the platform’s moderation practices. The company was also rocked by a scandal when it allowed third parties, including British consultancy Cambridge Analytica, access to Facebook users’ data. In connection with this, Musk recently joked that “thank God they are so reasonably managed.”
Bloomberg reported that Zuckerberg posted his first post in 11 years on his Twitter account. According to Bloomberg, Zuckerberg immediately jokingly poked fun at his rival Musk when he posted a photo of identical Spider-Men facing each other. Two weeks ago, the two men agreed to a cage fight. Musk also said earlier this week that “it’s infinitely better to be attacked by strangers on Twitter than to indulge in false happiness on Instagram where the pain hides.”