What Is Threads? (2 articles on the new Twitter rival)

Article 1: What Is Threads? All Your Questions About Meta’s New Twitter Rival, Answered


Courtesy of Barrie 360 and Canadian PressPublished: Jul 6th, 2023

By Wyatte Grantham-philips in New York – The Associated Press; AP Technology Writer Kelvin Chan contributed to this report from London.

Threads, a text-based app built by Meta to rival Twitter, is live.

The app, billed as the text version of Meta’s photo-sharing platform Instagram, became available Wednesday night to users in more than 100 countries — including the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada and Japan. Despite some early glitches, 30 million people had signed up before noon on Thursday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Threads.

New arrivals to the platform include celebrities like Oprah, pop star Shakira and chef Gordon Ramsay — as well as corporate accounts from Taco Bell, Netflix, Spotify, the Washington Post and other media outlets.

Threads, which Meta says provides “a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations,” arrives at a time when many are looking for Twitter alternatives to escape Elon Musk’s raucous oversight of the platform since acquiring it last year for $44 billion. But Meta’s new app has also raised data privacy concerns, and is notably unavailable in the European Union.

Here’s what you need to know about Threads.


Let us know what you think of Threads and we may use the audio on one of our upcoming podcast episodes.https://www.speakpipe.com/widget/inline/5lm8apf6abh4tubsay37jxxohc3vbsi1


Threads is now available for download in Apple and Google Android app stores for people in more than 100 countries.

Threads was built by the Instagram team, so Instagram users can log into Threads through their Instagram account. Your username and verification status will carry over, according to the platform, but you will also have options to customize other areas of your profile — including whether or not you want to follow the same people that you do on Instagram.

Because Threads and Instagram are so closely linked, it’s also important to be cautious of account deletion. According to Threads’ supplemental privacy policy, you can deactivate your profile at any time, “but your Threads profile can only be deleted by deleting your Instagram account.”


For now, only Instagram users can create Threads accounts. If you want to access Threads, you will have to sign up for Instagram first.

While this may receive some pushback, VP and research director at Forrester Mike Proulx said making Threads an extension of Instagram was a smart move on Meta’s part.

“It’s peaking (user) curiosity,” Proulx said, noting that Instagram users are getting alerts about their followers joining Threads — causing more and more people to sign up. “That’s one of the reasons why Threads got over 10 million people to sign up in just a seven hour period” after launching.

Still, Proulx added, maintaining momentum and continuing to capture user attention past the initial curiosity bump will be crucial down the line — noting “the long term nature of threads is what’s going to ultimately predict its success or failure.”


Threads’ microblogging experience is very similar to Twitter. Users can repost, reply to or quote a thread, for example, and can see the number of likes and replies that a post has received. “Threads” can run up to 500 characters — compared with Twitter’s 280-character threshold — and can include links, photos and videos up to five minutes long.

In early replies on Threads, Zuckerberg said making the app “a friendly place” will be a key to success — adding that that was “one reason why Twitter never succeeded as much as I think it should have, and we want to do it differently.”

Musk has replied to several snarky takes on the Threads launch. He responded to one tweet suggesting that Meta’s app was built largely through the use of the copy and paste function, with a laughing emoji.


The similarities of Meta’s new text-based app suggests that the company is working to directly challenge Twitter. The tumultuous ownership has resulted in a series of unpopular changes that have turned off users and advertisers, some of whom are searching for Twitter alternatives.

Threads is the latest Twitter rival to emerge in this landscape following Bluesky, Mastodon and Spill.


According to Meta, Threads will use the same safety measures deployed on Instagram — which includes enforcing Instagram’s community guidelines and providing tools to control who can mention or reply to users.

Content warnings — on search queries ranging from conspiracy theory groups to misinformation about COVID-19 vaccinations — also appear to be similar to Instagram.


Threads could collect a wide range of personal information — including health, financial, contacts, browsing and search history, location data, purchases and “sensitive info,” according to its data privacy disclosure on the App Store.

Threads also isn’t available in the European Union right now, which has strict data privacy rules.

Meta informed Ireland’s Data Privacy Commission, Meta’s main privacy regulator for the EU, that it has no plans yet to launch Threads in the 27-nation bloc, commission spokesman Graham Doyle said. The company said it is working on rolling the app out to more countries — but pointed to regulatory uncertainty for its decision to hold off on a European launch.


Success for Threads is far from guaranteed. Industry watchers point to Meta’s track record of starting standalone apps that were later shut down — including an Instagram messaging app also called “Threads” that shut down two years after its 2019 launch, Proulx notes.

Still, Proulx and others say the new app could be a significant headache for Musk and Twitter.

“The euphoria around a new service and this initial explosion will probably settle down. But it is apparent that this alternative is here to stay and will prove to be a worthy rival given all of Twitter’s woes,” technology analyst Paolo Pescatore of PP Foresight said, noting that combining Twitter-style features with Instagram’s look and feel could drive user engagement.

Threads is in its early days, however, and much depends on user feedback. Pescatore believes the close tie between Instagram and Threads might not resonate with everyone. The rollout of new features will also be key.

“The real test is not if we can build up a lot of hype, but if you all find enough value in the app to keep using it over time,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri wrote Thursday in a Threads post. He also acknowledged, as many users have already done, that there are “tons of basics” missing, including hashtags and direct messaging between users. “Full disclosure, it’ll take time.”

Article 2 – Courtesy of The Funnel – Your Weekly Business Must-Knows! (SIVA Creative), Marketing Deep Dive and https://www.socialmediatoday.com/

Meta’s new Twitter-busting Threads app is now active, and we’re getting more details by the minute as to how the app looks and functions, while the Instagram team has also shared some insights into what features will be coming soon to the new platform.

And it looks good. The layout of Threads is clean and simple, with all of the basic functionality of the Twitter feed.

Threads App

Meta has logically sought to replicate the Twitter experience in the new app. And earlier today, some users were able to gain early access to the in-app experience – which enabled me to dig around some of the new app’s features.

Here’s what I found: First off, in terms of functionality – Threads posts can be up to 500 characters long, and can include links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length. Similar to Twitter, Threads are presented in the main feed (with a lot of recommended content to start with), and you can like, re-post, and reply to each update.

And while Threads has been designed to work on a decentralized protocol, enabling greater portability and data control, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri says that it won’t be fully functional in this respect a launch.

But it does include this explainer, as to what the intention is in this respect:

Threads App

So soon, all users will have a threads.net username, that’ll be discoverable across other apps that are using ActivityPub, which includes social platforms like Mastodon. Which will theoretically facilitate greater freedom to utilize your own in-app info, and take your audience across to other conversations, in other apps and digital spaces.

Though the greater fediverse – a collection of thousands of federated servers that are working together to facilitate a new form of open social media access – is not entirely happy with Meta looking to muscle onto its turf, with a collective of fediverse mods seeking to keep Meta’s products out of the space.

Which seems counter to the entire model – but basically, the new wave of open platforms aren’t particularly enamored with the big players, like Meta, seeking to profit off of their work, as Meta and Co. are the ones that created the problems that led to the fediverse in the first place.

Either way, this is reportedly coming, once Meta can work out all the complexities involved in facilitating such connection.

In terms of expanded functionality, Threads enables simple switching between light and dark mode, by tapping on the Threads icon at the top of the screen (thanks to Morgan Evetts for sharing this example).

Threads App

Mosseri also says that voice notes are coming to the app, along with photo and video tagging, while they’re also considering post reactions, though that may clutter the UI, which is something that Meta wants to avoid.

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In terms of how posts are ranked, Mosseri says that there is an algorithm that ‘lightly’ ranks posts for now, while they’re also looking to highlight recommendations from accounts you don’t follow in your Threads feed, as means to kickstart engagement.

So, more like the AI-driven discovery approach that’s now become popular in other apps, though I’d expect Meta to either dial this back at some point, or offer alternative ‘Following’ and ‘Recommended’ feeds, much like Twitter’s current UI.

Worth noting too that hashtags are currently not active on Threads, though they may be sometime soon, while Meta’s also weighing how exactly it should refer to posts as in the app. For example, re-posts will likely be called ‘re-threads’, though nothing is set in stone yet.

In terms of controls, at launch, users will be able to limit replies on each post to either profiles that you follow or only those mentioned in the thread. Or public, open free-for-all. Instagram’s also porting over a lot of the accessibility and interaction controls from its main app, so there’ll be a range of tools to manage your Threads experience.

Threads App

The app looks good, looks polished, it seems like a good space, though missing some functionality that Meta will no doubt add in over time (it’s still very early, and Meta’s only just getting started with the new app).

So will it be the Twitter killer?

Look, of all the Twitter challengers that have cropped up thus far, it definitely looks the best, while tapping into the social graph of Instagram will give it a big boost in introducing the app to a whole new range of potential users.

Worth noting that Twitter currently has around 250 million daily actives, while Instagram has over a billion. That’s a lot of non-Twitter users who could be lured across to this new app, which could give it significant growth momentum, and could see it become a viable alternative to Twitter, at the least.

And if Twitter users, particularly prominent ones, no longer want to support Musk’s changes or projects, that might be enough to drive significant take-up.

Either way, things are about to get very interesting in the real-time social race.

Patricia Dent

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