**Meta Launches Threads: A Twitter Rival with 10 Million Sign-Ups in Hours**
Threads, the highly anticipated rival to Twitter, has been launched by Meta, the parent company of Instagram. Within the first few hours of its release, 10 million people signed up for the platform. Threads aims to provide a space for sharing text updates and participating in public conversations. Its release comes at an opportune time, following a controversial move by Twitter’s owner Elon Musk that prompted many users to seek alternative platforms. With a strikingly similar look and the support of Mark Zuckerberg’s billions, Threads appears well-positioned to challenge Twitter like platforms such as Bluesky and Mastodon have not been able to. However, there is still significant skepticism in the market. This article delves into the details of Threads and what makes it stand out.
**What is Threads?**
Threads is primarily designed as a platform for sharing real-time text updates, similar to Twitter. In fact, Threads bears a striking resemblance to Twitter in terms of its appearance, although it does feature a different font. Users can create posts of up to 500 characters, which can include links, photos, and videos of up to five minutes in length. These posts are displayed in a timeline format and can be liked, reposted, replied to, and shared. However, unlike Twitter, posts in Threads are not shown chronologically, and it seems that there is no option to change this.
Users can choose to follow celebrities, athletes, and friends on Threads, many of whom may have migrated from Instagram. The platform is available for download on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
**Threads Leveraging Instagram’s User Base**
One significant advantage that Threads has over its competitors is its access to Instagram’s vast user base. With over two billion Instagram accounts, Threads allows users to log in using their Instagram credentials. This means that usernames and verifications from Instagram will carry over to Threads, potentially allowing the platform to quickly amass a lineup of celebrities, athletes, politicians, news outlets, and brands that are already active on Instagram. Consequently, users are likely to see familiar faces from Twitter among their friends and followers on Threads. This integration with Instagram is expected to make Threads more engaging compared to platforms such as Bluesky and Mastodon, which have gained traction since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter but still trail its estimated 360-400 million user base.
However, deleting a Threads account without also deleting the associated Instagram account may not be straightforward. While users can deactivate their Threads account, there seems to be no way to delete it separately. Instead, deleting the Threads account would also require deleting the Instagram account.
**Celebrities on Threads**
Several famous figures have already joined Threads as early adopters. Notable accounts include Netflix, Star Wars, chef Gordon Ramsay, pop star Shakira, actor Zac Efron, Formula 1 driver Lando Norris, NBA star Seth Curry, and of course, Mark Zuckerberg himself. Even if users do not follow these accounts, they may come across their posts in their feed if the content is considered “recommended.”
**Privacy and Safety Measures on Threads**
Meta states that Threads will have the same privacy and safety features as Instagram. However, given Instagram’s frequent criticisms regarding moderation, this may not be sufficient. New users under the age of 18 will have their profiles set to private by default. Additionally, users can control who can reply to or mention them, and they can filter out specific words to prevent seeing posts containing them. Accounts can also be blocked, restricted, or reported to Meta’s moderation team. It is worth noting that if a user has blocked someone on Instagram, that person will also be blocked on Threads.
Regulatory concerns have caused Threads to delay its launch in the European Union. It is believed that this delay is related to the data collection practices of the app. Meta has previously faced issues with European data regulations, resulting in a record £1 billion fine for transferring Facebook users’ data from the EU to the US, where privacy protections are less comprehensive.
**Unique Features of Threads**
While Threads does not offer many unique features, one interesting decision could have a significant impact on its development. Meta has announced that Threads will soon be compatible with ActivityPub, an open social networking protocol that allows different platforms to communicate with each other. This approach is similar to what upstarts like Mastodon have done, but it is relatively uncommon for a major company like Meta to adopt it. ActivityPub would enable content transfer between services, allowing users to move their content from platforms like Mastodon to Threads. It would also facilitate communication with individuals on different apps, even if they are using different platforms. Each platform could maintain its own moderation policies while enabling cross-platform interaction. This decentralized approach may address one of the primary concerns of users considering leaving a social media platform – the potential loss of years of content and interactions.
Threads, the new Twitter rival from Meta, has attracted 10 million sign-ups within hours of its launch. Designed for sharing real-time text updates and engaging in public conversations, Threads bears a resemblance to Twitter in terms of its appearance. Leveraging Instagram’s vast user base, Threads allows users to log in using their Instagram credentials, making it easier to migrate from one platform to the other. The platform has already garnered the attention of prominent figures, including celebrities in the entertainment industry and high-profile personalities. Privacy and safety features on Threads mirror those of Instagram, but concerns over data collection have prompted a delayed launch in the European Union. Threads sets itself apart by announcing its compatibility with ActivityPub, a decentralized approach that allows content transfer and cross-platform interaction. The availability of this feature may enable users to retain their content and interactions when transitioning between platforms, addressing a common concern among users.