July 06, 2023
There's a new social media platform available in app stores, and some have nicknamed it the "Twitter killer."
Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has launched its new text-based app called Threads, founder Mark Zuckerberg announced. The platform, made for "sharing text updates and joining public conversations" can be accessed by using an Instagram account.
Threads was rumored to have been in production since January, and Meta began rolling it out Wednesday in more than 100 countries. The platform gained 10 million sign-ups within seven hours of its launch, Zuckerberg posted on his own verified Threads account.
Created by the Instagram team, Threads allows posts that include up to 500 characters plus links, photos and videos up to 5 minutes long. It is available for iOS and Android users through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, respectively.
When users log into Threads through Instagram, their usernames and verifications will carry over to Threads, but profiles can be customized later. On Threads, users can connect follow friends and creators, including people they already follow on Instagram.
Users' Threads feeds will be filled with posts from people they follow, plus recommended content from other creators. Threads posts can easily be shared to Instagram stories, and links can be posted to other platforms.
Instagram's existing safety and user controls will be available to Threads users. People under 16 years old, or 18 in some countries, will be defaulted to a private Threads profile upon joining. Accessibility features also will carry over from Instagram, including AI-generated image descriptions.
The current version of Threads is referred to as the "initial version," but Zuckerberg hinted at new features to come. For example, Threads may soon become compatible with the ActivityPub open social networking protocol. This would make it interoperable with other apps that use ActivityPub, like Mastodon, WordPress and possibly Tumblr.
Some tech experts believe Threads could spell the end for the already-faltering Twitter.
Twitter, which was purchased by Elon Musk last year, has suffered from increased instability and malfunctions in recent months. Over the weekend, Musk announced temporary limitations on how many tweets users could view per day.
Zuckerberg poked fun at Musk and Twitter in the wake of his new app launch. On Wednesday night, the Meta founder posted his first tweet in more than a decade, a variation of a well-known Spider-Man meme in which two identical superheroes point at each other, likely referencing the similarities between Threads and Twitter.