Meta Launches “Twitter-Killer” Threads App with 10M People Signing Up to Get Started

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The Meta thread is off to a fantastic start. The new social network, which launched on Wednesday night, has amassed more than 10 million users in seven hours, including celebrities and politicians such as Oprah Winfrey and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But it’s not just a friendly place to chat—it’s also a direct challenge to Elon Musk’s Twitter.

Threads is Meta’s attempt to create “a public chat app with 1 billion+ people on it,” as Mark Zuckerberg puts it. Meta CEO interact with his followers on Threads, laughing at the comments that predicted the death of Twitter. As I reported yesterday, Threads was already available in limited access for some users before it was fully launched.

Advertisers are paying attention, even though they haven’t been able to buy ads in Threads. Martin Sorrell, a veteran advertising executive who runs S4 Capital, tells NY Times DealBook that Threads can be a safer way and a more attractive option for brands than Twitter, which has struggled with controversy and moderation issues.

Twitter’s new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, joined the company last month on a mission to win back advertisers who left after Musk took over and fired many content moderators. “Controversy is a negative thing and not something brands want to deal with,” said Sorrell. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri posted a video introducing Threads on the platform of the app’s biggest competitor, Twitter:

🎉 Thread 🎉

Threads is our new app, created by the Instagram team, for text updates and joining the public conversation ✨

We hope Threads can be a great space for public conversation, and we’re focused heavily on the community of creators who already enjoy Instagram.


— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) July 6, 2023

Create a Direct Challenge to Twitter

Meta has its own history of privacy and data scandals, and some have questioned how it will handle misinformation in Threads. The company has done well to differentiate Meta from Facebook. The latter has a lot of issues around privacy, security and content moderation. However, Meta has managed to keep other services like Instagram and WhatsApp out of Facebook’s trash fire.

This makes Threads a viable alternative to Twitter, says Sorrell. He also noted that the timing of Threads’ launch, as Twitter plans to limit how many tweets users can view, was “auspicious”. Meta also uses existing platform and ad operations to improve Threads. This app has features from Instagram, which has around two billion monthly users.

Threads is integrated with Instagram, so users can see their Instagram followers and posts on the app. Additionally, Threads allows users to create private groups, which can be used to share photos, videos, and other content with a specific group of people.

Musk has attacked the app and is not impressed by Threads. “Better to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than to enjoy the fake happiness of Instagram hide-the-pain,” he tweeted.

It’s better to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than to indulge in the fake happiness of Instagram hide-the-pain

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2023

One catch: If you want to delete your Threads account, you must also delete your Instagram account. That could raise some eyebrows at the FTC, which has vowed to take action against companies that make it difficult for users to opt out of the service. It may also end up putting off some users who don’t want to be tied to other apps they may not even use.

Threads are not available everywhere. It’s not in the European Union, where Meta is battling with regulators over its data practices. And it doesn’t have any live messaging or live streaming features, unlike Twitter. Even so, news of the successful debut of Threads sent Meta stock soaring on Thursday morning.


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