Twitter reigned as the undefeated champion of real-time conversations and concise messaging in the world of social media. That was until October 2022, when Elon Musk famously took over. Since then, Twitter had a notoriety that was well documented. 

But things look even worse for Twitter as Meta, Mark Zuckerberg’s giant parent company, brings out its version of a real-time conversation social media platform. Threads by Meta, a formidable challenger, has emerged to test Twitter’s dominance. It also kicks up the Elon-Zuckerbeg rivalry by some notches. 

Threads is Meta’s microblogging platform. It is set to compete with Twitter by offering users a new space for threaded conversations and real-time engagement. With its launch today, Threads aims to provide a seamless and user-friendly experience. It is also for those looking for an alternative to Musk’s controversial ownership of Twitter. In this article, we explore the features of Threads, discuss how to get the app, delve into Meta’s ownership, and analyze the app’s significance in the world of social media.

What is Threads by Meta?

Threads by Meta is a microblogging app developed by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. The app focuses on threaded conversations, allowing users to engage in real-time discussions and connect with like-minded individuals. Users can publish short posts or updates within 500 characters. You can include links, photos, or videos up to 5 minutes long.

Threads aim to provide a fresh alternative to Twitter, attracting users who seek concise and engaging conversations on a separate platform.

According to an article on CNET, Threads is created by Meta’s Instagram team. The internal codename for the app was “Project 92”. The app uses Instagram’s account system to automatically populate user information. 

The app went live just after midnight Wednesday in the U.K. in Apple and Google Android app stores in more than 100 countries, including the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada, and Japan. It was quickly populated by 5 million users within hours. Celebrities and regular people have found their space and claimed unique handles to go by. 

So What are Meta Threads All About?

To access Meta Threads, you can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Simply search for “Threads by Meta” and follow the installation instructions. It is currently available only as an app, so no desktop version is available. 

With Threads, you can easily sign up using your Instagram login and seamlessly follow all the accounts you already follow on Instagram as they join the app.

The app enables you to send posts with a maximum length of 500 characters, allowing you to include images, gifs, and videos up to five minutes long.

Threads have a similar layout to Twitter, with short text-based content, likes, and reposts. You can also quote a thread, similar to quote tweeting.

However, one criticism is that the feed can display a mix of posts from followed accounts and random accounts. Meta has indicated that it combines followed accounts with algorithmic recommendations. Currently, there is no way to view only the posts of people you follow, and it’s unclear if this option will be available in the future.

Direct messaging is not available on Threads, which may be a relief for some users.

You have the flexibility to maintain a private Instagram account while keeping your Threads account public. By default, Threads is private for users under 16, but you can adjust the privacy settings at any time. You can also choose who can reply to your posts on Threads.

Unlike Instagram’s “close friends” setting, Threads has no similar feature. However, if you prefer a smaller audience, you can switch your profile to private, ensuring that only your followers can see your threads.

Meta has stated that Threads will not be monetized this year, but they have not ruled out the possibility of introducing ads in the future.

When using Threads, you will continue to use the same username as your Instagram account. Meta allows users to log in using their Instagram credentials, ensuring that their usernames remain secure.

At present, you cannot find followers from other social media platforms on Threads. However, Meta plans to make the app compatible with ActivityPub, which would enable users to transfer their accounts and followers to other ActivityPub-supported platforms.

Moderation on Threads follows similar guidelines to Instagram. The platform enforces rules regarding nudity and hate speech more strictly than Twitter, addressing concerns that arose since Elon Musk took over the platform.

Where Do Threads Fit Into In the Big Picture? 

Meta has a history of launching and discontinuing various apps and products like Poke, Parse, and Beacon. With Threads hitting 5 million in mere hours, Meta should have some satisfaction by now. However, the swift growth of Threads doesn’t guarantee long-term success. 

The timing of Threads’ launch is perfect. Most other social media companies are facing several kinds of issues. Twitter is facing content scraping issues, Reddit has conflicts with subreddit moderators, and TikTok is under scrutiny for its connections to China. Threads have found a perfect environment to seize the opportunity and contribute to Meta’s expanding dominance in the realm of social media.

Mark Zuckerberg described Threads as an open and welcoming platform for public conversation in a launch video. He emphasized that the app combines the best aspects of the Instagram experience and introduces a new platform dedicated to text, ideas, and sharing thoughts.

Are Threads the Twitter Killer?

Threads, the latest platform to emerge in the quest to dethrone Twitter as the top app for real-time, public conversations, certainly has a shot at success.

Since Elon Musk took over Twitter, many users have been longing for an alternative. The platform has been plagued by frequent technical issues and policy changes, causing some notable users to abandon the ship.

Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Threads, has a significant advantage over Twitter—its massive existing user base. With over 2 billion active Instagram users globally, Meta hopes to attract a portion of them to the new app. In comparison, Twitter’s active user base is around 250 million.

Mark Zuckerberg himself expressed his vision for a public conversations app with over 1 billion users. He believes Twitter had the opportunity to achieve this but fell short. Now, Meta aims to step up to the challenge.

Meta’s established scale and infrastructure give it an edge over other recent Twitter competitors. While those platforms required users to join waitlists or receive invitations, Threads makes it incredibly easy for users to get started without having to rebuild their network from scratch.

However, Meta faces a crucial challenge in keeping users engaged in the long run. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri highlighted this in a video, acknowledging that the real hurdle is not just getting users to sign up but ensuring they stay actively engaged over time.

Meta will also need to tackle issues like spam, harassment, conspiracy theories, and false claims on Threads—problems that have soured many Twitter users. The platform’s launch follows Meta’s significant layoffs, including employees focused on user experience, well-being, policy, and risk analytics. Additionally, with the upcoming 2024 US Presidential election campaign, there are concerns about a surge in misinformation. Meta assures users that its Community Guidelines will apply to Threads, just like its other apps.

User Safety and Data Privacy on Threads

Meta focuses on keeping users safe by actively enforcing Instagram’s community guidelines and giving users control over mentions and replies.

However, Meta’s latest app, Threads, has sparked concerns regarding the privacy of user data.

The data privacy disclosure for Threads on the App Store reveals that the app has the potential to collect various types of personal information, including health, financial data, contacts, browsing history, search history, location data, purchases, and sensitive details.

It’s important to mention that Threads will not be released in the European Union due to the stringent data privacy regulations in the region.

Meta has informed the Irish Data Privacy Commission that they currently have no intentions of launching Threads in the 27-member bloc. The Irish watchdog serves as Meta’s primary privacy regulator for the EU because the company’s regional headquarters are situated in Dublin.

Is it Time to Jump Ship to Threads?

With the launch of Threads, many users are questioning whether it’s time to switch over to this new messaging app. Its early rise to the rank of millions suggests there could be a massive migration. The data privacy disclosure for Threads, however, raises eyebrows among users. It reveals the potential collection of various personal information. 

Whatever the change, it seems Meta has upped its game to face Twitter head-on. By entering the realm of microblogging, Meta aims to provide an alternative to Twitter and revolutionize social media engagement. 

As the competition between Meta and Musk’s social media ventures heats up, only time will tell how Threads will fare in the ever-evolving landscape of social networking.

FAQs

What is Threads by Meta?

Threads by Meta is a microblogging app developed by Meta, offering users a platform for threaded conversations and real-time engagement.

How do I get Meta Threads?

You can download the Threads app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Search for “Threads by Meta” and follow the installation instructions.

Who owns the Threads app?

Threads app is owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, led by Mark Zuckerberg.

What is the Threads app?

Threads app is a microblogging platform developed by Meta that allows users to engage in threaded conversations, connect with like-minded individuals, and explore real-time discussions in a separate space from traditional social media platforms.

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