- Facebook owner Meta released Threads, a Twitter clone that could trigger an upheaval in the world of social media.
- Threads, unveiled by Meta (Facebook) on Thursday, offers an alternative platform that blends the best of Instagram's capabilities with the structure of Twitter.
The big tech battle is on. It's played out between Twitter and Threads. Between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. One behemoth against another.
The companies and capital behind them have ultra-deep pockets with access to billions of dollars and top talent to make modern-day contraptions, i.e. our smartphones, more than just calling and messaging gadgets.
And if things go according to plan, at least for Twitter, it could soon turn into digital payments gear, too.
On the face of it, the release on Thursday (July 6, 2023) marked the start of a proxy war between Musk (a.k.a. the king of Twitter, Tesla, Space X, Starlink) vs Zuckerberg (a.k.a. of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp).
Their footprints are everywhere, their products are used by hundreds of millions. They won't give up without a good fight.
Follow along our thread...
What is Threads? Why was it launched?
Threads is a new microblogging app launched by Meta (parent of Facebook and Instagram) on Thursday on iOS (App Store) and Android (PlayStore) devices.
Using Threads, you can post “threads” — reply to others and follow profiles you're interested in. Threads and replies can include short pieces of text, links, photos, videos or any combination of them.
People can also follow you to see your threads and replies in their feed and from your profile.
Why is it called “Twitter killer”?
It behaves, looks, feels like Twitter. At the moment, Threads resembles a more condensed form of Twitter.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has indicated that Threads is meant to directly compete with Twitter, which currently counts 368 million monthly active users in December 2022, as per Statista.
So after 11 years, the Facebook boss ended his Twitter silence with a dig at the popular microblogging site controlled by Elon Musk.
Zuckerberg reported 10 million people signed up with Threads in the first 7 hours of its launch. That’s a remarkable feat, considering that other apps have had not hit such numbers in so short a time.
"It'll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn't nailed it. Hopefully we will."
Given the timing of its release amid numerous concerns about Twitter’s unpredictable rules and deteriorating quality, make Threads’ quick user growth expected.
Initial impressions: What Threads uses can do, cannot do?
Users of Threads can like, comment on, and share posts as well as use the same profile names as on Instagram.
It is easy for Threads users to link their Instagram username, bio, and followers — which is the new app’s biggest plus. There are no hashtags, unlike Twitter. We found it a bit clunky to sign up, especially if you don’t have an Instagram account. Or you want to sign up with another Instagram account (you then have to create that other Insta account).
We found no option to sign up using another account outside Instagram. That’s one indicator it may need to up the game, to grab more eyeballs away from Twitter.
In general, users' reactions to the app have mostly been good. One person said, “It is a prettier Twitter." "Love the integration with the Gram, but needs a few more features."
Also the feed does not exclusively push alerts from accounts the user is following — the current feed is a mishmash of messages from seemingly unrelated accounts that have been algorithmically sorted.
Additionally, unlike Twitter, users are unable to now make lists of the accounts and subjects they want to follow while excluding other stuff.
Popular third-party Twitter applications like TweetDeck have not yet been designed for Threads and may not receive the necessary updates.
(1) Threads does not seem to use hashtags.
(2) It does not (yet?) have a feature that allows users to search for specific text or phrases.
(3) It also allows users to share up to 10 photos in a single post – the same limit that exists on Instagram – as opposed to Twitter's limit of four images.
(4) People can only sign up with Threads via Instagram at the moment.
(5) Meta has confirmed that Threads will give users a 500-character count limit vs unverified Twitter users, who can only have a maximum of 280 characters.
(6) A verified Instagram account can keep their blue badge on Threads.
But it’s only Day 1 for Threads. Any of these could still change with a tweak of the underlying codes and algorithms.
And even if it has been put on hold for the time being, the plan to integrate Threads with other Twitter rivals like Mastodon has not been given up.
Who are the celebrities who signed up with Threads?
Celebrities, news organisations, and well-known corporations have jumped at the chance to be early adopters. Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Gordon Ramsay, Tom Brady and Coldplay were among those to sign up for the app early on,
MrBeast, a well-known YouTuber, quickly accumulated 740,000 subscribers — and counting. Major news organisations like The New York Times and the BBC have joined but have not yet started posting; other organisations, like the Daily Mail, have immediately seized the opportunity to start disseminating news stories right away. Other companies, such as Netflix and McDonald’s, have already entered the Threads-sphere.
How is Threads related to Instagram?
They are both under Meta. Threads is actually an app from Instagram.
It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.
Zuckerberg, envisions Threads as a public conversations app with over a billion users, surpassing Twitter’s reach.
This ambition is fuelled by Twitter’s failure to fully capitalise on its potential to create a massive public conversations platform. However, it remains to be seen whether Threads can truly challenge and potentially overthrow Twitter’s dominant position.
Twitter vs Threads: Who’s gonna win?
It will be a long-drawn battle. Earlier, Mark Zuckerberg said keeping the platform "friendly... will ultimately be the key to its success”.
Only time will tell. Elon Musk, who founded and wrote the underlying code for PayPal (before he sold it in 2002 for $1.5 billion to start Tesla/Space X), is grooming Twitter to rival WeChat, with a digital payments functionality.
Ultimately, influence, honour, power, pleasure, money (ad dollars), etc will follow where users — you and me — go.
How to download the app?
Open the Google Play Store on your Android Mobile Devices or iOS device (App Store), go to the search bar, type “Instagram Threads”.
Locate the official Threads app from Instagram and tap on it.
After declaring that he has spoken to the two about making it happen, UFC president Dana White gave the absurd possibility more credence.
White told TMZ late last month, "Talked with Mark and Elon last night, both guys are absolutely dead serious about this.” According to White, it might be the most lucrative match in history.
In reality, Zuckerberg has experience in mixed martial arts. In May, the creator of Facebook announced that he had won his first jiu jitsu competition.
Some Twitter memes, though, show Elon Musk is winning. These are interesting times.