Meta has unveiled an app called Threads to rival Twitter, targeting users looking for an alternative to the proprietary social media platform – and frequently changed – by Elon Musk.
Threads is pitched as a text-based version of Meta’s photo-sharing app Instagram, with the company saying it offers “real-time updates and a new, separate space for public conversations.”
It went live on the Apple and Google Android app stores late Wednesday, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying 10 million people had signed up in the first seven hours. There were some initial glitches, including Zuckerberg’s posts – or threads as they are called – not loading in several locations, including the United Kingdom, India and Lebanon. But his answers came up for other users.
Threads has launched in more than 100 countries – including the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Japan – and is already supported by celebrity users such as chef Gordon Ramsay, pop star Shakira and actor Jack Black, as well as Airbnb, Guinness World Records and others. World records have even attracted Netflix accounts. , Vogue magazine and other media outlets.
Twitter-like microblogging experience suggests meta platform is gearing up to directly challenge platform after it Musk’s turbulent ownership a series of unpopular change Which has turned off users and advertisers.
Zuckerberg said in some early replies on the threads that his focus is on making the app “a friendlier place,” which “will ultimately be key to its success.”
He wrote, “This is one reason Twitter has never been as successful as I think it should have been, and we want to do it differently.”
On threads, there are buttons to like, repost, reply, or quote a thread, and users see the number of likes and replies a post has received.
Posts are limited to 500 characters, which exceeds Twitter’s 280-character limit, and can include links, photos and videos up to five minutes long.
Despite this, Meta stated that its “view is that Threads will be a new app focused more on text and dialogue than what Instagram has done for photos and videos.”
Instagram users will be able to log in with their existing username and follow the same accounts on the new app. New users will have to create an Instagram account.
Meta emphasized measures to keep users safe, including implementing Instagram’s community guidelines and providing tools to control who can mention or reply to users.
However, Meta’s new offering has increased data privacy concerns,
Threads can collect a wide range of personal information, including health, financial, contacts, browsing and search history, location data, purchases and “sensitive information,” according to the data privacy disclosure on the App Store.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey alluded to this in a sarcastic tweet, saying “all your threads belong to us” that included a screenshot of the disclosure. Musk replied “Yes.”
One place where Threads will not be rolled out is in the European Union, where it has strict data privacy rules,
Commission spokesman Graham Doyle said Meta has informed Ireland’s data privacy commission that it has no plans yet to launch Threads in the block of 27 countries. The Irish watchdog is Meta’s main privacy regulator for the European Union as the company’s regional headquarters are based in Dublin.
The company is working on launching the app in more countries, but has pointed to regulatory uncertainty for its decision to hold off on the European launch.
There is no guarantee of success, analysts said, citing Meta’s track record of launching standalone apps that later shut down. There’s also the question of whether this is the right move for Meta, which announced thousands of layoffs Over the past year amid a downturn in the tech industry.
Zuckerberg has also been focus on the metaverseBillions of dollars invested in the virtual reality concept.
Mike Proulx, director of research at global market research firm Forrester, said the risk to Meta is “very, very low.” “Meta is counting on a time like this amid extreme desperation on Twitter. However, this window of opportunity is already full of Twitter alternatives, including Blue Sky, Mastodon, rodPost.news and Hive, all competing for Twitter’s market share.”
Still, Threads could be a new headache for Musk, who acquired Twitter last year for $44 billion.
They’ve made a number of changes that have triggered a backlash, with the latest changes being daily Limit on the number of Tweets people can see Attempt to prevent unauthorized scraping of potentially valuable data. They are also now requiring payment verification for users to access TweetDeck, their online dashboard.
Musk’s rivalry with Zuckerberg may be over spreading in real life, In an online exchange, the two tech billionaires appear to have agreed to a one-on-one cage match, though it’s unclear whether they’ll actually enter the ring.
Amidst the Threads launch, Musk responded to a tweet showing a screenshot of him saying he deleted Instagram in 2018 because it was “weak sauce”.
“It’s far better to be attacked by strangers on Twitter than to indulge in the false joy of Instagram that hides pain,” he said.