Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, recently launched a new text-based public conversation app called Threads App. This app, built by the team behind Instagram, has garnered significant attention and raised questions about its features, Twitter’s influence, and its availability in the European Union. In this article, we will delve into the details of Threads, its functionality, and its impact in the social media landscape.
Over the past few weeks, Twitter users faced numerous challenges, including platform outages and tweet viewing restrictions imposed by billionaire owner Elon Musk. Amidst these incidents, Meta launched Threads on July 5, a public conversation app that gained rapid popularity, surpassing 70 million sign-ups within just two days. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of Threads and its significance.
What is Threads App?
Threads App, developed by Meta, is a text-based public conversation app that allows users to engage in discussions. Leveraging the expertise of the Instagram team, Threads offers an interface similar to Twitter while incorporating distinctive features. With over two billion monthly active users, Instagram’s extensive user base contributes to Threads’ potential reach.
How does Threads work?
Threads app is an extension of a user’s Instagram account. Users can sign up for Threads using their existing Instagram credentials and retain their original username and followed accounts. Settings such as user blocking, restrictions, and word filtering are synchronized between the two platforms. However, it’s important to note that deleting Threads will also result in the deletion of the associated Instagram account. Threads presents content from both Instagram and Threads, along with recommended content based on user preferences.
Elon Musk’s Reaction to Threads
Initially, Elon Musk responded to news about Threads with jokes and light-hearted comments. However, Twitter lawyer Alex Spiro sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, threatening legal action and claiming that Threads was developed using former Twitter employees and proprietary trade secrets. Meta’s spokesperson refuted these claims, emphasizing that no members of the Threads engineering team were former Twitter employees.
Threads and the European Union
Despite its global release, Threads app was not made available for download in the European Union on July 5. Meta cited regulatory compliance challenges as the reason for this delay. Meta aims to ensure compliance with upcoming laws, such as the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which places obligations on large online platforms regarding fair data handling and consent for targeted advertising.
Other Twitter Rivals
Twitter’s acquisition by Elon Musk in late 2022 led to increased sign-ups on alternative social media platforms due to concerns about rising bigotry and misinformation on Twitter. Mastodon, a decentralized social media site, experienced a surge in user registrations, but its complex structure and multiple servers posed challenges for users. Bluesky, another contender, focuses on building a public conversation protocol to facilitate seamless transitions between platforms.
Bluesky and Mastodon: A Comparison
Bluesky and Mastodon differentiate themselves from Twitter and Threads by adopting a decentralized approach. Bluesky’s AT Protocol allows users to retain their data when moving between platforms, while Mastodon operates through servers that users must join to interact with others. Each server has its own policies and entry requirements. Meta plans to make Threads compatible with the ActivityPub protocol, enabling integration with Mastodon and other platforms.
Meta’s Threads: A Strong Contender
With its vast user base and the backing of Meta, Threads presents a significant challenge to Twitter’s dominance. While offering familiar features from Instagram and Twitter, Threads incorporates experimental elements and algorithmic feeds. As the app evolves, user feedback and advertiser demands will shape its future development and potential impact on the social media landscape.
Meta’s introduction of Threads marks an important milestone in the social media ecosystem. This text-based public conversation app combines features from Instagram and Twitter, capturing the attention of millions of users globally. As the platform continues to grow, it will be interesting to observe its evolution, user engagement, and the responses from competitors and regulators.