On its inaugural day, Meta’s newly released Threads app garnered an impressive thirty million users, according to Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO. He positioned the app as a friendly contender to Twitter, which was acquired by Elon Musk in October.
Industry experts suggest that Threads could appeal to dissatisfied Twitter users who have been discontent with recent alterations to the platform. Nevertheless, Twitter’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, asserts that while Twitter may be frequently emulated, its community can never be replicated.
Threads permits users to publish posts of up to 500 characters and boasts several features reminiscent of Twitter. Earlier, Zuckerberg emphasized that maintaining a welcoming atmosphere would be crucial to the app’s success. In response, Musk stated, “I’d rather endure the attacks of strangers on Twitter than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”
When queried on Threads about the possibility of the app surpassing Twitter, Zuckerberg commented, “It will require some time, but I believe there should be a public conversational app with over 1 billion users. Twitter had the opportunity to achieve this but hasn’t quite nailed it. Hopefully, we will.”
The app’s launch has received a positive reception online, with one individual telling the BBC that Threads is a much-needed competitor to Twitter.
Critics have raised concerns about the app’s potential data consumption, as indicated by the Apple App Store. This data may encompass personal information such as health records, financial data, and browsing activity that can be linked to user identities.
Furthermore, some users have expressed apprehension about the inability to delete their Threads profile without also deleting their associated Instagram profile. In response, Meta stated to the BBC, “Currently, it is not possible to delete your Threads profile without deleting your Instagram account. Nevertheless, we are actively taking steps to resolve this matter. In the meantime, you have the option to deactivate your Threads profile whenever you wish.”
Meta clarified that deactivating the Threads profile would render it and its associated posts and interactions invisible. They also emphasized that deactivating the Threads profile would not deactivate the Instagram account itself.
According to Meta, users can manage the download and deletion of their Threads data by accessing their Instagram settings.
While Threads is available for download in over 100 countries, including the UK, its release in the EU has been delayed due to regulatory concerns.
The Very First Version
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, characterized their recently launched app as an “initial version” with future plans to introduce additional features. These enhancements may include the capability to engage with users on other platforms like Mastodon.
Before its launch, the company stated, “Our vision with Threads is to leverage Instagram’s strengths and expand them to include text-based content.”
Although Threads is a standalone app, users are required to log in using their Instagram accounts. While their Instagram username remains unchanged, users have the option to customize their profile specifically for Threads.
According to Meta, users will have the option to follow the duplicate accounts they follow on Instagram. The app allows users to maintain privacy on Instagram while being public on Threads.
The release of Threads comes at a time when Meta has faced criticism regarding its business practices. Last year, whistleblower Frances Haugen accused the company of prioritizing profits over user safety and raised concerns about the platform’s moderation practices.
Furthermore, Meta was embroiled in a scandal involving the unauthorized access of Facebook users’ personal data by third parties, including British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.
On Monday, Elon Musk made a lighthearted remark about Meta’s controversial history, stating, “Thank goodness they’re so sanely run.”
While there are alternative platforms to Twitter like Bluesky and Mastodon, they have encountered difficulties gaining widespread popularity.
Threads hold a notable advantage due to its integration with Instagram, tapping into the extensive user base of hundreds of millions already present on that platform.
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How does Threads work?
Threads allow users to seamlessly share posts between the app and Instagram, encompassing various forms of content such as links, photos, and videos with a maximum duration of five minutes.
However, some initial users experienced challenges on Wednesday when uploading images, indicating potential early-stage difficulties.
Within Threads, users have access to a feed of posts, referred to as “threads” by Meta, consisting of content from accounts they follow as well as recommended content.
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Users are empowered to manage their interactions on the platform, including controlling who can mention them and employing filters to screen out replies containing specific words.
Additionally, features such as unfollowing, blocking, restricting, or reporting other profiles are available, and any Instagram accounts blocked by users are automatically blocked on Threads as well.
While Meta emphasizes its connection to Instagram, media coverage has predominantly highlighted the app’s resemblance to Twitter. Some investors have even referred to Threads as a potential “Twitter killer.”
On Saturday, Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, implemented a restriction on the number of tweets users could view per day, citing concerns over extensive “data scraping.” This move was part of his ongoing efforts to encourage users to subscribe to Twitter Blue, the platform’s subscription service.
In addition, Twitter announced that its widely used user dashboard, TweetDeck, would be transitioning behind a paywall within the next 30 days.
Since Musk assumed a prominent role within Twitter, numerous users have openly expressed their discontent with the platform and his leadership, highlighting concerns about erratic behavior and political viewpoints.
In a somewhat playful manner, Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, engaged in a lighthearted agreement for a potential cage fight last month. Zuckerberg’s early posts on Threads even mentioned his interest in mixed martial arts.
While Threads will be accessible in the UK, it is not yet available in the EU due to regulatory uncertainties surrounding the EU’s Digital Markets Act. Meta is actively exploring possibilities for launching in the EU. The act establishes guidelines regarding data sharing among large companies that own multiple platforms, and the data sharing between Threads and Instagram is a relevant factor in this context.
Meta maintains that safeguarding privacy is a fundamental aspect of its business operations.