6th July 2023
Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk may have avoided a cage fight last month, but the two tech titans are now set to go head-to-head in the digital world.
The new Meta app “Threads” is the latest chapter in the rivalry between two of the world’s richest men. Having launched a day earlier than originally announced (5th July), the app claims to be a new "conversation" app that appears to be the company’s long-awaited counterpart to Twitter.
You might be wondering, what’s the deal with this Twitter spin-off? Do we really need yet another app in the already overcrowded social media arena?
The App Store description says Threads is “Instagram’s text-based conversation app”, in which users can “say more.”
The app-store description explains "Whatever it is you're interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things -- or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world."
Capitalising on the chaos
Zuckerberg has definitely struck whilst the iron is hot, taking advantage of the growing number of disgruntled Twitter users who are tired of Musk’s increasingly erratic decisions. The announcement of Threads came just days after Elon Musk introduced a temporary cap on how many posts a user can read on Twitter – talk about perfect timing.
With this in mind, we’re predicting that Threads will gain a pretty solid user base straight from the get-go. In fact, in its first few hours, the app has already gained 10 million users. Does it stand a real chance to overtake Twitter? Only time will tell!
So what do we know about Threads so far? Granted, not much, as it's still in the early hours of its launch. But here's everything we know so far:
When it comes to taking inspiration – or rather stealing - from its competitors' successful ideas, Instagram isn't exactly shy about it. We only need to take a look at Reels, which were clearly inspired by the popularity of TikTok, and also the Insta Stories feature that drew inspiration from Snapchat's success.
Twitter users therefore shouldn’t be surprised that there is a familiar enough interface with Meta’s new microblogging app. Users will be able to share their point of view in thread-like posts that appear very similar to tweets. These will be able to view on the app’s centralised main feed, with users able to like, reply, direct message, and retweet, sorry, repost threads. With its similar user-friendly interface, Twitter users will be able to seamlessly transition to this app.
Since Threads is connected to Instagram accounts, it offers one major advantage. With Instagram's massive user base of over 1 billion monthly active users, people can effortlessly access an account without having to build an entirely new community from scratch. Although the app will need to be downloaded separately, you’ll be able to use the same login details and go through your existing Instagram follower list to choose who you want to follow.
When it comes to content, it appears that Threads users have a 500-character count limit per thread, which is considerably more than Twitter's existing limit of 280 characters.
There are a few options that aren't currently available on the app, such as saving drafts of posts and viewing other profiles' liked posts. And as of today, there's also no way to view trending topics and posts as there is on Twitter. But as the app evolves and grows, these features could potentially be added at a later date.
Users will also immediately notice that Threads currently has no ads, which, according to Bloomberg, was done to get as many people excited about the platform as possible. We'll see how long that lasts though.
Beyond the obvious similarities between Threads and Twitter, the new clone is a Meta app through and through. We all know that Zuckerberg’s apps are no strangers to regulatory scrutiny, so it should come as no surprise that the app is already facing legal challenges over its security and privacy policies.
Interestingly, whilst the app is launching this week in the UK and the US, it is yet to receive the green light from the EU due to regulatory concerns.
The app is faced with a range of new EU tech laws that are putting pressure on its business model. The app is particularly affected by the Digital Markets Act, which stops large tech companies, known as "gatekeepers," from combining data from different services. Before the app can be rolled out across Europe, Meta will need to tackle and resolve these privacy concerns.
It remains to be seen whether Threads can gain enough traction to challenge Twitter's dominance. But given the increasing number of unhappy Twitter users, Threads finds itself in a prime position to establish a unique presence within the social media landscape.
Can Twitter get its act together under new CEO Linda Yaccarino? Or is the damage already done?
Only time will tell, but Threads is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
If you're looking to strengthen your digital marketing strategy, whether on Threads, Twitter, or any other social media platform, reach out to us today to find out how we can help.