Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has unveiled its latest venture, Threads, a direct challenge to Twitter. Within the first seven hours of its launch, the app garnered a staggering ten million sign-ups, according to Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO. Positioned as a friendly alternative to Twitter, Threads has the potential to attract disenchanted Twitter users who have been unhappy with recent changes on the platform.
Threads offers users the ability to post up to 500 characters, resembling Twitter’s format, and incorporates various similar features. Zuckerberg emphasized the importance of maintaining a friendly platform, which he believes is crucial for Threads’ success. Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter last year, responded: “It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”
When questioned about Threads potentially surpassing Twitter in size, Zuckerberg expressed optimism, stating his vision of creating a public conversation app with over a billion users. He noted Twitter’s missed opportunities in this regard and expressed hope that Threads could succeed where Twitter fell short.
Critics have raised concerns about the app’s data usage, including the potential collection of sensitive information such as health, financial, and browsing data linked to users’ identities. Some users have also voiced their worries about the inability to delete a Threads profile without deleting the associated Instagram profile. Meta has acknowledged these concerns and stated that they are actively working on addressing them.
Threads, initially launched as an “initial version,” has plans for further development, including the integration of interaction with users on other social media platforms like Mastodon. The app currently requires users to log in using their Instagram accounts, allowing for a seamless transition for the hundreds of millions of existing Instagram users. Users can choose to follow the same accounts they follow on Instagram, and while they can remain private on Instagram, they have the option to be public on Threads.
The release of Threads comes at a time when Meta has faced criticism for its past business practices and privacy issues. However, the company is determined to prioritize user safety and privacy in its operations. The launch of Threads is expected to pose a significant challenge to Twitter, particularly considering Meta’s ownership of Instagram and its extensive user base.
Meanwhile, Twitter has been facing its own challenges, with CEO Elon Musk implementing restrictions on the number of tweets users can see per day to promote the adoption of Twitter Blue, the platform’s subscription service. In addition, Twitter announced that its user dashboard, TweetDeck, will soon be behind a paywall. Many Twitter users have expressed dissatisfaction with the platform under Musk’s leadership, citing erratic behavior and political views.
While the EU launch of Threads remains pending due to regulatory concerns, the app is already available for download in over 100 countries, including the UK. With its potential to tap into Instagram’s vast user base, Threads has positioned itself as a formidable competitor to Twitter. As the app gains traction, it remains to be seen how it will shape the social media landscape and whether it can achieve Zuckerberg’s vision of becoming a public conversations app with over a billion users.
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