SAN FRANCISCO—Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is gearing up to challenge Twitter with the launch of its new microblogging app called Threads. The app, which is set to go live on Thursday, has already garnered attention as it offers users the ability to retain their followers and usernames from Instagram. Screenshots from the app reveal a user-friendly dashboard that bears a striking resemblance to Twitter’s interface. Meta describes Threads as a “text-based conversation app,” positioning it as a direct rival to Twitter’s microblogging platform.
The launch of Threads comes on the heels of Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s recent announcement of temporary restrictions on tweet viewing, which sparked controversy and outcry from many users. Musk’s move to limit tweet consumption per day has created an opportunity for alternative microblogging sites, such as Mastodon and Blue Sky, to gain traction. However, neither platform has been able to pose a significant challenge to Twitter’s dominance.
In contrast, Meta’s Instagram has a massive user base, boasting hundreds of millions of registered accounts, and has a track record of successfully implementing features inspired by other social media platforms. For instance, Instagram introduced the “stories” feature in response to Snapchat’s rising popularity, and its short-form video feature, “Reels,” aims to rival the success of TikTok. With Threads being seamlessly integrated with Instagram, Meta has a substantial advantage over its competitors.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta Platforms, has a history of borrowing ideas from other companies and turning them into successful ventures. Meta’s Reels and Stories are prime examples of this strategy. Now, with Threads, Zuckerberg is hoping to capitalise on Twitter’s recent controversies and attract disenchanted users to his platform. While Musk has been lauded for his commitment to free speech, he has also faced criticism and alienation from certain users.
It is worth noting that Meta’s Threads app will collect user data, including location, purchases, and browsing history, as part of the company’s data-driven approach. However, the app is positioned as a free service without any restrictions on post viewing.
The launch of Threads poses a credible threat to Twitter under Musk’s leadership, as Meta’s vast resources and established user base provide a solid foundation for success. As Meta and Twitter engage in a battle for dominance in the microblogging realm, the social media landscape is bound to witness significant shifts, with users eagerly awaiting the outcomes of these competing platforms.