In an aggressive bid to increase their influence in real-time public conversation, Instagram, owned by Meta, launched its latest app, Threads, on Wednesday. The new app is considered by some to be a direct rival to Twitter, an arena that has largely been dominated by the latter until now. This new endeavor of Meta ramps up the competition between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, who became Twitter’s owner last year.
Threads is designed to be a platform for real-time public conversations. To gain access to the new app, users are required to have an Instagram account. Users can import the list of people they follow on Instagram directly to Threads, and their Instagram handle will also serve as their Threads username. Instagram’s verified users will also carry over their verification to the new app. At a glance, Threads may look strikingly similar to Twitter, with users being able to post text-based messages, photos, or videos to a scrolling feed.
However, there’s a crucial feature that is currently absent in Threads: direct messaging. Instagram has announced that they might add more features to Threads based on user feedback.The Threads app has its origins in Instagram’s recent efforts to simplify its platform. Threads was spun out as a separate app to prevent Instagram from being overly cluttered. Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, emphasized that the primary goal is to build an open and friendly space for communities.
Instagram plans to integrate Threads into what it refers to as the ‘Fediverse,’ essentially a federated universe of services sharing communication protocols. This approach is expected to facilitate seamless operation between Threads and other platforms, enhancing its appeal to creators and influencers.
Meta has a history of copying features from rival platforms, and Threads is seen as another step in this direction. However, success in this area is not guaranteed. Past attempts to replicate Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging did not initially gain much traction. Despite this, Meta persevered and later released Reels, a TikTok clone, which has now gained wide acceptance.
Currently, Threads is available for free download from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store in the United States and approximately 100 other countries. The app is not yet available in the European Union, with the upcoming Digital Markets Act affecting its launch there. Meta stated that it awaits more specific details about the new law before introducing Threads in the EU. Despite mixed reactions to the launch of Threads, Mark Zuckerberg seems optimistic. He stated that Twitter has missed the opportunity to build a public conversations app with over a billion people on it. “Hopefully, we will,” he added on his Threads account.
However, Elon Musk was less impressed, stating that he’d rather face attacks on Twitter than engage with the “false happiness” of Instagram.As Instagram ventures into Twitter’s territory, the coming months will reveal whether Threads will stand as a “Twitter killer” or just another attempt by Meta to stamp out competition.