Threads, the new social media platform launched by Meta, has made a significant impact since its launch, amassing over 30 million sign-ups within a mere 18 hours. This rapid growth has positioned Threads as the first genuine challenger to Elon Musk’s Twitter. Leveraging its access to billions of Instagram users and incorporating a similar interface to its rival, Threads has garnered attention as the potential “Twitter-Killer.”
Following its launch, Threads swiftly claimed the top spot as the most downloaded free app on Apple’s App Store in both the UK and the U.S. This achievement highlights the platform’s immediate popularity and indicates a strong demand for alternative social media platforms.
The rivalry between Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Elon Musk has been intensifying in recent months, with both individuals engaging in public exchanges and even entertaining the idea of a real-life mixed martial arts cage match in Las Vegas. The emergence of Threads as a formidable contender adds another layer of competition to this ongoing feud. Threads’ impressive sign-up numbers and rapid rise to the top of app store rankings underscore its potential to disrupt the social media landscape and pose a serious challenge to Twitter’s dominance.
“The cage match has started, and Zuckerberg delivered a major blow. In many ways, it’s exactly what you’d expect from Meta: Stellar execution and an easy-to-navigate user interface,” Insider Intelligence principal analyst Jasmine Enberg said.
According to Semafor, Twitter has reportedly threatened to sue Meta over the launch of Threads. Twitter has not yet provided an official comment, and the details of the report have not been independently verified by Reuters.
Meta has stated that none of the engineers on the Threads team are former Twitter employees. Following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and subsequent controversial decisions, several competitors have emerged. These competitors have capitalized on Twitter’s missteps, which have resulted in user and advertiser dissatisfaction. Musk’s recent action of limiting the number of tweets users can read per day has further fueled the need for a well-funded competitor. Meta Platforms, with its access to Instagram users and strong advertising capabilities, is seen as a potential contender. While other competitors like Mastodon and Bluesky have gained some traction, their user bases remain relatively small compared to Twitter’s pre-Musk acquisition monthly active user count of 229 million as of May 2022, according to a statement made before the buyout.
“Meta’s release of Threads came at the perfect time to give it a fighting chance to unseat Twitter,” said Niklas Myhr, professor of marketing at Chapman University, referring to the turmoil at Twitter after it limited the number of tweets users can see.
“Threads will be off to a running start as it is built upon the Instagram platform with its massive user base and if users adopt Threads, advertisers will be following closely behind.”
Threads, while being a standalone app, offers easy access for Instagram’s vast user base of over 2 billion monthly active users by allowing them to log in using their Instagram credentials. However, Threads is currently lacking several features that are present on Twitter, making it a more simplified platform.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, expressed his hopes for Threads to become a platform with over 1 billion users and emphasized the need for a large-scale public conversations app. Despite its potential, Threads currently lacks features such as hashtags, keyword search, direct messaging, and a desktop version, which restricts certain user functionalities.
Users have voiced their desire for a feed that consists solely of content from people they follow, as they have limited control over the main feed on Threads. In contrast, Twitter’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, highlighted the value of the diverse voices present on the platform and stated that the Twitter community cannot be replicated.
Threads currently does not include advertisements, and Zuckerberg mentioned that the company would only consider monetization once it reaches a clear path to 1 billion users. However, existing ad relationships from Instagram and Facebook are expected to contribute to Threads’ revenue, as Facebook holds a significant position in the advertising market.
Analysts have drawn comparisons between Threads and Meta’s success in integrating features from other platforms like Snapchat and TikTok, as seen in Instagram’s Stories and Reels. Several brokerages have raised their price targets on Meta, which has already experienced significant growth in its share value this year.
Following Threads’ launch, Meta’s shares experienced a slight decline of 0.2% on Thursday, after a 3% increase the previous day.