Instagram Threads: Is really a Twitter Competitor?

Instagram Threads: Everything You Need to Know

Instagram Threads
Meta has officially launched Threads, its competitor to Twitter, just three months after confirming its plans for the app.

Threads is already showing promising signs: the company reported 30 million sign-ups as of Thursday morning, including numerous brands, celebrities, journalists, and other notable accounts.

The atmosphere surrounding Threads on Wednesday night felt reminiscent of the first day of school, with early adopters eagerly trying out the app and sharing their most memorable posts. Some questioned whether Threads could become the "Twitter killer." By Thursday morning, Threads had become the top free app on Apple's App Store and a trending topic on Twitter.

Threads represents a serious danger to Twitter, which has confronted criticism since Elon Musk assumed control over the company in October 2022 and embraced a more exploratory approach. Twitter has become particularly vulnerable recently, frustrating users with a daily limit on the amount of content they can see. Additionally, Threads could expand Meta's portfolio of popular apps and provide another platform for advertising.

Here's what we know so far about Meta's Threads:

What is Threads?
Threads is a new app developed by Meta. The platform resembles Twitter, featuring a feed of primarily text-based posts, although users can also share photos and videos. Threads allows for real-time conversations, similar to Twitter, with features like replying, reposting, and quoting others' posts. The app incorporates elements from Instagram, such as its visual design and navigation system, and enables users to share posts directly to Instagram Stories.

Meta's Vision for Threads
"The vision for Threads is to create a selective and friendly public space for conversation," said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Threads post. "We aim to leverage what Instagram excels at and provide a new experience centered around text, ideas, and discussing what's on your mind."

Initial Challenges
Some users experienced occasional errors and content loading issues in the early hours after Threads' launch, which is expected when a large number of users join and use an app simultaneously.

How to Join?
Users can join Threads using their Instagram accounts and retain the same username, password, and account name. However, they can customize their profile to be unique to Threads. Users can likewise import their followed accounts straightforwardly from Instagram, making it simple to begin to the app.
Leaving Threads is not as straightforward, though. While users can temporarily deactivate their profiles through the app's settings, the company's privacy policy states that "your Threads profile can only be deleted by deleting your Instagram account."

Availability
Threads is accessible in over 100 countries and supports in excess of 30 languages on Apple's iOS and Android stages, as per the organization.

Could Threads Be the "Twitter Killer"?
Threads is the latest platform to emerge in an attempt to kill Twitter as the go-to app for real-time public conversations. However, Threads might have the best chance of success.

Many Twitter users have sought alternatives since Musk took over the platform last year. Ongoing technical issues and policy changes have driven some significant Twitter users away. With the new app, Meta aims to capture at least a portion of its billions of active Instagram users. In comparison, Twitter's active user are around 250 million.

"It'll take some time, but I believe there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it," Zuckerberg stated in a Threads post. "Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn't nailed it. Hopefully, we will."

While Twitter's new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, acknowledged the launch of the rival app in a tweet, referring to Twitter as "indispensable," Meta's scale and infrastructure could work in its favor. Unlike many recent Twitter competitors that required users to join waitlists or obtain invitations, Threads makes it incredibly easy for users to get started.

However, Meta must tackle the challenge of keeping users engaged in the long term. Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, acknowledged in a video on the platform that the real test for new social platforms often lies in retaining users, rather than getting them to join.

Meta will need to address issues such as spam, harassment, conspiracy theories, and false claims on Threads, problems that have soured many users' experiences on Twitter. The launch of Threads follows Meta's layoffs of over 20,000 employees starting in November last year, including staff involved in user experience, well-being, policy, and risk analysis. It also comes as the 2024 US Presidential election campaign season heats up, with experts anticipating an influx of misinformation. Meta states that its Community Guidelines will apply to Threads, just like its other apps.

What's in it for Meta?
For Meta, Threads could provide a means to increase engagement among its massive existing user base.
While there are currently no sponsor ad on the app, Threads could eventually complement Meta's core advertising business. Meta's ad business could benefit from a boost following the decline in the online advertising market and changes to Apple's app privacy practices. However, considering Twitter's history, it's unlikely that Threads will attract as many advertising dollars as Meta's other platforms.

For Zuckerberg, the true allure may lie in attempting to outperform his rival, Musk, with whom he has recently been making plans to engage in a boxing match. Perhaps winning the battle of social networks is an even sweeter victory.

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