Meta has introduced a new social media app called Threads, which aims to compete with Twitter and provide an alternative to the platform owned by Elon Musk. This text-based offering, resembling Instagram, offers a separate space for real-time updates and public conversations. Threads was launched in over 100 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, and Japan, with notable early users like Gordon Ramsay, Shakira, and more.
Screenshots of the app suggest that Meta Platforms is directly challenging Twitter, capitalizing on user dissatisfaction with Musk's frequent and unpopular changes. Threads provides a microblogging experience similar to Twitter, allowing users to like, repost, reply to, or quote a thread. The app limits posts to 500 characters, surpassing Twitter's 280-character limit, and allows the inclusion of links, photos, and videos up to five minutes long.
Existing Instagram users can log in with their usernames and follow the same accounts on Threads, while new users will need to create an Instagram account. Meta highlights safety measures, such as enforcing Instagram's community guidelines and offering tools to control user mentions and replies.
However, Threads has raised concerns about data privacy. The app's data privacy disclosure on the App Store reveals that it may collect various personal information, including health, financial, contact, browsing, and search history, location data, purchases, and sensitive information. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, pointed out this issue in a tweet, to which Musk responded affirmatively.
Notably, Threads will not be launched in the European Union due to the bloc's stringent data privacy regulations. Meta has informed Ireland's Data Privacy Commission, its main privacy regulator for the EU, about its decision to forgo a European launch due to regulatory uncertainty. While the app was listed on Apple's U.K. App Store, it was not found on the French, German, or Dutch versions, indicating a limited rollout.
Analysts remain cautious about Threads' success, considering Meta's history of launching standalone apps that were eventually shut down. Additionally, Meta's focus on the metaverse and recent layoffs have raised questions about the company's decision to enter the Twitter alternative market.
For Musk, Threads could pose another challenge as he faces backlash for the changes he implemented on Twitter, such as daily viewing limits and paid verification for access to TweetDeck. Musk's rivalry with Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, may even extend to a proposed face-off, although it remains uncertain whether it will come to fruition.
Why Is Threads a Threat To Twitter?
Threads experienced remarkable success, amassing over 10 million sign-ups within a mere seven hours of its launch, with numerous notable celebrities among its user base. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed his aspirations for the Threads community to reach the impressive milestone of one billion members.
In a seemingly rare occurrence, Zuckerberg made his first post on Twitter in over a decade, sharing a popular Spider-Man meme as a playful acknowledgment of Threads' resemblance to Twitter.
This launch came on the heels of a turbulent weekend, during which Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced restrictions on the number of tweets users could view in a single day.
A dedicated website had built anticipation for Wednesday's release, and the Apple App Store described Threads as "Instagram's text-based conversation app."
The app listing explained, "Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what'll be trending tomorrow."
Twitter users expressed dismay over the limitations on tweet viewing. Musk initially declared that unverified users would only be able to read 600 tweets per day, which he later increased to 1,000.
Verified users, who have subscribed to the Twitter Blue service at a cost of up to $11 per month, can access up to 10,000 posts daily. Twitter now charges a substantial amount, up to $5,000 per month for startups and a minimum of $42,000 per month for businesses and large-scale commercial projects, for API access, which was previously free and enabled developers to create products utilizing tweets.
The choice of the name "Threads" for Meta's new app is a deliberate nod to its primary competitor. Threads, referring to linked series of tweets, has become a prominent feature on Twitter since its official introduction in 2017.
For now, one can only speculate. Only time will tell which social media platform rises above the other.
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