Instagram and Twitter
Meta Platforms Inc.'s Instagram has unveiled Threads, a new app designed to compete directly with Twitter. This move presents the most serious threat yet to Elon Musk's struggling social media platform.
Threads allows users to post text and links, as well as reply to and repost messages from others. It offers the convenience of porting over existing follower lists and account names from Instagram, which boasts over 2 billion users and includes major brands, celebrities, and creators.
Early Success and Aspirations
Within its first seven hours, Threads garnered over 10 million sign-ups, according to Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg. However, this number still pales in comparison to Twitter's more than 300 million user base. Zuckerberg expressed the ambition to create a public conversations app with over 1 billion users, criticizing Twitter's inability to achieve this goal.
User Demand and Inspiration
According to Connor Hayes, Vice President of Product, Instagram received feedback from influential users who sought an alternative to existing text-based apps. These users desired to avoid starting from scratch and rebuilding their following from zero. Although not explicitly mentioned, this feedback was likely directed at Twitter.
Since Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion in October, the platform has faced challenges, including layoffs, content moderation issues, and technical difficulties. Financially, Twitter has seen a significant decline in advertising revenue, prompting the hiring of a new CEO to improve relationships with brands.
Growing Demand for Alternatives
Twitter's recent restrictions on the number of daily tweets users can view, albeit temporary, have driven users to seek alternative platforms. However, previous challengers to Twitter, such as Bluesky and Mastodon, have struggled to build large networks capable of rivaling Twitter's reach. Additionally, many alternative networks are still developing effective systems to manage harmful content.
Threads benefits from Instagram's infrastructure and rules, keeping content safe. It aligns with Instagram's verification process for blue badges. It also uses the ActivityPub protocol like Mastodon for future interoperability.