Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, has revealed that the company’s newly-launched Threads app is designed to rival Twitter. Industry experts predict that Threads could attract dissatisfied Twitter users who are unhappy with recent changes to the platform.
Threads, which offers similar features to Twitter, allows users to post up to 500 characters. Within just four hours of its launch, the app garnered five million sign-ups.
Zuckerberg emphasized the importance of maintaining a friendly platform, stating that it is crucial for the app’s success. However, Twitter’s chief, Elon Musk, responded by stating that he finds it preferable to be criticized by strangers on Twitter than to indulge in the “false happiness” of Instagram.
When asked whether Threads would surpass Twitter in popularity, Zuckerberg commented that while it might take time, he believes there should be a public conversations app with over one billion users. He also criticized Twitter’s failure to achieve this goal and expressed hope that Threads would succeed.
Despite its potential, competitors have raised concerns about the app’s data usage. The Apple App Store suggests that Threads may collect various types of user data, including health, financial, and browsing data linked to users’ identities.
Threads is currently available for download in over 100 countries, excluding the European Union due to regulatory concerns. Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has labeled Threads as an “initial version” and plans to introduce additional features, including integration with other social media apps like Mastodon.
Meta aims to leverage the strengths of Instagram and expand its features to incorporate text-based content. Users log into Threads using their Instagram accounts, with the option to customize their profiles specifically for the app. Additionally, users can choose to follow the same accounts they follow on Instagram, maintaining privacy on Instagram while being public on Threads.
The release of Threads follows criticism of Meta’s business practices. The company has been accused of prioritizing profits over safety, and it faced a scandal involving the unauthorized access of Facebook users’ personal data by third parties like Cambridge Analytica.
Threads holds an advantage over its competitors due to its integration with Instagram, which boasts hundreds of millions of users. The app allows users to share posts between Threads and Instagram and supports various media formats, including links, photos, and videos.
While Threads has drawn comparisons to Twitter, Meta highlights its association with Instagram. Nevertheless, investors have already dubbed the app a potential “Twitter killer.” Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, recently limited the number of tweets users can see per day and encouraged users to subscribe to Twitter Blue, the platform’s subscription service. Twitter has also announced plans to introduce a paywall for its popular user dashboard, TweetDeck.
Although Threads is currently available in the UK, it has not yet launched in the EU due to regulatory uncertainty surrounding the EU’s Digital Markets Act. Meta is exploring the possibility of introducing Threads in the EU, but concerns over data sharing between Threads and Instagram remain a key obstacle. Meta maintains that protecting user privacy is fundamental to its business philosophy.