As one of the newest social media platforms, Threads by Meta has lofty aspirations.
Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Threads’ parent company Meta Platforms (META), said “It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”
While Meta stresses ties to Instagram, media coverage has focused on its similarity to Twitter, with some investors describing the app as a “Twitter killer”.
But what are the Threads facts and statistics (so far)? Let’s take a look.
A Quick Look at Threads
- Industry: Social Networking
- Founded: July 2023
- Founder: Mark Zuckerberg
- Key People: Adam Mosseri
- Headquarters: California, U.S.
- Parent Company: Meta Platforms
- Area Served: Worldwide (not yet available in the EU)
Threads App Information Coming Soon:
- Market Cap
- Employee #
- Latest News
Threads App History and User Adoption
On Wednesday 5th July 2023, the Threads app was released 24 hours ahead of its scheduled roll-out (Thursday 6th) to more than 100 countries.
Within seven hours of launch, Threads already had a live user base of more than ten million people worldwide. Early celebrity adopters of the new Threads platform include Shakira, Coldplay and Gordon Ramsay. As Instagram has 2 billion users, Threads only needs one-in-eight to be curious enough to open an account for it to overtake overall Twitter usage.
On launch day, Meta experienced an increase in share price, closing at its highest point since the start of 2022 with a price of $294.37 and a trading volume more than three times higher than on July 3rd.
By the end of day July 6th, Threads already had around 30 million users on the platform. Twitter also sent a cease and desist letter to Meta Platforms, accusing them of recruiting former Twitter employees in order to utilize confidential information and trade secrets.
What Is Threads by Meta?
How Does the Threads App Work?
While many of the features on the Threads app bear more than a passing resemblance to those on Twitter, the interface is closely aligned with its linked platform Instagram. Heart, comment and share buttons and tab placements will be familiar to current Instagram users.
Setting up a Threads Account
All 2 billion active Instagram users are able to sign up to Threads straight from their current Insta accounts. However, users are told that their Threads handle (account name) must be the same as that of their Instagram account (but are able to change their bio and link info).
Verified Instagram users will take their check marks to Threads, as well. Not only that, but posts can be shared across both platforms, removing some early-adoption friction. Currently, these shared posts (called ‘threads’) can include links, photos, and videos of up to five minutes in length.
The Threads app’s home screen shows a scrollable feed of short-form text posts (‘threads’) of up to 500 characters. Users have the option to add individual carousel photos as well as videos of up to five minutes in length.
Users’ feeds include content from followed accounts as well as accounts suggested by the Threads recommendation algorithm. Engagement comes from liking, commenting, reposting (including quotes) and sharing directly to Instagram.
Engaging on Threads
Limiting interactions is straightforward. Those who wish to do so can choose to allow replies only from accounts they follow or users they mention first. Their own mentions can also be restricted to followed accounts, or switching them off completely.
Unfollowing, restricting, blocking and reporting other profiles is also possible, and any accounts users block on Instagram are automatically blocked on Threads (and vice versa).
Individual threads can also be shared as a link on other platforms. Users can also filter out replies with certain words in them, making the platform more curatable for users even with the recommendation algorithm choosing additional content for their feed.
Where Is the Threads App Available?
Threads initially launched in 100 countries, including the U.S. and U.K., but not yet including the European Union.
Threads App Privacy Concerns
The EU exclusion is due to “the complexities with complying with some of the laws coming into effect next year,” according to Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri. This is in reference to the Digital Markets Act, which will impose new legal obligations on ‘gatekeeper’ platforms like Meta. This new legislation will create rules for how large companies such as Meta must safeguard data between owned platforms (e.g. between Facebook, Threads, Instagram and WhatsApp).
Mosseri continues in his interview with TheVerge, “We don’t want to launch anything that isn’t forward-compatible with what we know and what we think is coming. It’s just going to take longer to make sure not only that it’s compliant but that any claims we make about how we’ve implemented compliance stand up to our very high set of documentation and testing centers internally.”
Meta maintains that protecting privacy is fundamental to its business, and is therefore planning to still launch the Threads app in the EU as soon as possible.
However, competitors have criticized the data collected by the app. According to the Apple App Store, this may include health, financial, and browsing data linked to users’ identities. However, this isn’t an outlier in terms of automated data collection across most (if not all) popular social apps today.
Some users have also already expressed concerns that it’s not possible to delete a Threads profile without deleting the linked Instagram account. In one interview, a Meta spokesperson told the BBC: “At this time, you can’t delete your Threads profile without deleting your Instagram account. This is something we’re working on. In the meantime, you can deactivate your Threads profile at any time. Deactivating your Threads profile will not deactivate your Instagram account.”
Deactivation will cause your Threads profile, posts and interactions with others’ posts to become effectively invisible on the platform. Users can also download and delete Threads data by visiting their Instagram settings.
Threads Revenue & Monetization
Currently there are no plans for Threads to monetize using subscription or ads models, at least for 2023. However, this may apparently be on the cards if/when user adoption reaches numbers large enough going into next year.
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How Is Threads Similar to (or Different from) Twitter?
According to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, Twitter’s “volatility” and “unpredictability” under Musk provided the opening to compete. Mosseri also said that Threads is designed for “friendly public conversations,” half referencing the purpose of the Twitter service, but focusing more on supportive, non-toxic behavior (which may or may not have been an intended dig at the Twitter platform’s recent challenges with being used by a small percentage of users as a platform for borderline hate speech).
Let’s take a look at the current similarities and differences between the two platforms:
|(Based on Free Account)||Threads|
|Post Length||500 Characters||280 Characters|
|Photos||Single & Carousel||Single & Block Cell|
|Video||Yes (5 mins)||Yes (2 mins 20 seconds)|
|Account Deletion||No (deactivation only)||Yes|
|ActivityPub Integration||No (upcoming)||No|
|Platform Access||Mobile Only||Mobile & Desktop|
|Price||Free||Free & Subscription|
|Search||Accounts Only||Accounts & Content|
How Will Threads Integrate With Other Apps?
Meta is also working on making Threads compatible with ActivityPub, a decentralized social networking protocol already used by sites such as Mastodon and which is part of an increasing social platform trend. This protocol allows information sharing between social platforms (and other services).
“This would make Threads interoperable with other apps that also support the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress — allowing new types of connections that are simply not possible on most social apps today,” the company said in a blog post. “Other platforms including Tumblr have shared plans to support the ActivityPub protocol in the future.”
“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,” Adam Mosseri has said. “This functionality is likely to have great appeal for creators and influencers so they do not have to start from scratch on each app.”
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