In a bold move to challenge Twitter’s dominance in the realm of public conversations, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has launched Threads. The new app, which closely mirrors Twitter in its design and functionality, has already logged five million signups within the first four hours of operation, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Threads is a text-based conversation app that allows users to post text and links, reply to or repost messages from others, and even share videos of up to five minutes in length. The app’s debut was brought forward by 15 hours, making it available in 100 countries on the Apple and Google app stores. However, due to regulatory concerns, it is not yet available across the EU.
The launch of Threads has intensified the rivalry between Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter. Musk’s initial response to the launch was a laughing face emoticon in reply to a tweet suggesting that Threads is a replica of Twitter. He also stated that it is “infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter than indulge in the false happiness of hidethepain Instagram.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2023
The launch of Threads comes at a time when Twitter is facing a series of challenges, including technical issues and criticism over recent policy changes. One such change, a limit on the number of tweets users can view daily, was blamed partly on data harvesting by companies building artificial intelligence models.
Despite the criticism, Meta is determined to carve out its place in the social media market. The company has made aggressive moves in recent weeks to launch Threads ahead of schedule. The app launched without advertising, as the company hopes to gain a substantial user base before prioritizing profit and revenue.
Threads has already gained celebrity backers, including Shakira and Jack Black, and brands such as Billboard, HBO, NPR, and Netflix had accounts set up within minutes of launch. The app’s speedy integration with Instagram and its rapid user growth demonstrate the power Meta has in the social media landscape.
As the digital world watches, the question remains: Will Threads be able to thread the needle and establish itself as a viable alternative to Twitter? Only time will tell.