Threads, Instagram’s ‘Twitter Killer,’ Has Arrived


After months of conjecture and secrecy, Mark Zuckerberg's long-rumored Twitter competitor app has finally arrived.

Threads, the new programme, was announced on Wednesday as a complement to Instagram, the popular photo-sharing network purchased by Mr. Zuckerberg's firm, Meta, more than a decade ago. Threads, if Instagram executives get their way, will also replace rival Twitter, with some techies dubbing it a "Twitter killer."

The introduction of Threads heightens the rivalry between Mr. Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, who purchased Twitter last year. Mr. Musk has tinkered with Twitter's algorithm and other features, most recently imposing temporary limits on how many tweets individuals may see while using the service, prompting criticism.

In recent months, many internet companies have attempted to profit off Twitter's upheaval. Threads, on the other hand, has an advantage thanks to Meta's strong pockets and Instagram's massive user base of over two billion monthly active users worldwide.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg remarked on his Threads account, "I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it." Twitter has had the opportunity to do so, but has failed to do so. We can only hope." He later claimed that Threads had 10 million sign-ups in the first seven hours of its introduction.

Mr. Musk chimed in, saying he was unimpressed with Threads and had cancelled his Instagram account. "It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than to indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram," he wrote on Twitter.

Here's everything you need to know about Threads.

Threads, which was created by Instagram, is positioned as an app where individuals can conduct real-time, public talks with one another. Threads also aids in the promotion of Instagram, a prominent app in Meta's portfolio.

"The idea is to hopefully build an open, friendly space for communities," Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said in an interview.

Threads is inextricably linked to Instagram. Those interested in joining up for the new app must first have an Instagram account. The Instagram handle of a person must also be their Threads user name.

People will also be able to easily import their Instagram followers list into Threads if they so desire. Instagram verified users will be verified on the new app as well. Users can choose whether to make their Threads account secret or public.

Threads appears to be very similar to Twitter in many aspects. Users can post largely text-based messages to a scrolling feed, to which individuals who follow them and are followed by them can respond. Users can also upload photos or videos to the app.

Threads, on the other hand, is not the same as Twitter. It does not now support direct messaging, which Twitter does. Instagram said it may introduce Threads capabilities if new users request them.

Instagram has made a determined effort to streamline its interface in recent years, according to Mr. Mosseri. Threads was spun out into a distinct app as part of that endeavour, he said. Instagram would be less cluttered if it tried to make public chats operate within its present interface.

Mr. Mosseri stated that the decision to create a new app was difficult to resist, especially given the current state of the social media environment.

“There was an opportunity or demand for more people to play in the public space,” he said, referring to the changes around Twitter under Mr. Musk. Mr. Mosseri added that the chance to challenge Twitter came about “not just because of the ownership, but because of product changes and decisions” that Mr. Musk and others made to how the social platform works.

Instagram began its effort to take on Twitter late last year, with dozens of engineers, product managers and designers pitching ideas on what a rival app could look like. Among the notions Meta’s workers talked over at the time was a more extensive rollout of a feature called Instagram Notes, where people can share short messages on the site, and a text-focused app using Instagram’s technology.

Ultimately, Mr. Mosseri said, he and other managers decided they should “make a bet” on a messaging app and leaned into building what became Threads.

Instagram’s goal is to ultimately have Threads work across multiple apps in what it calls the Fediverse, which is shorthand for a federated universe of services that share communication protocols. Other apps like Mastodon, another social network, also function in this way.

This might sound like a lot of tech speak. What it means, essentially, is that Instagram wants to make it easier for Threads to operate seamlessly with other platforms, which could appeal to creators and influencers so they do not have to start from scratch on each app.

If a creator builds up a sizable number of followers on Threads, for instance, they could ostensibly take those followers with them to other platforms that are built on the same technology. That would make it less risky for creators and could free them from feeling like they are “stuck” on one platform, Mr. Mosseri said.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s Meta, which also owns Facebook and WhatsApp, has an extensive history of trying to stamp out social media rivals, partly by copying their features. Mr. Zuckerberg is fiercely competitive and has long wanted to own a product that accomplishes what Twitter does.

That strategy does not always guarantee success. Facebook’s early attempts to clone the ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, for example, did not initially gain much traction.

Even so, Meta has continued to imitate rivals. In 2020, Meta released a TikTok copycat called Reels, which focuses on short videos and has since become widely used.

Threads is available for download for free from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store in the United States and roughly 100 other countries beginning on Wednesday. It has plans to expand further.

But Meta said Threads will not initially be available in the European Union, one of the company’s largest markets. A new E.U. law called the Digital Markets Act is taking effect in the coming months and limits how the largest tech companies share data across services. Meta said it was waiting to get more specifics about the law’s implementation before introducing Threads across the 27-nation bloc.

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