Is Instagram’s Twitter-competitor Threads a “Twitter killer?”

Twitter has been a longtime social media rival of Facebook and Instagram, which are both owned by Meta.

Is Instagram’s Twitter-competitor Threads a “Twitter killer?”
Meta Threads app logo is seen in this illustration taken, July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The backstory: Twitter has been a longtime social media rival of Facebook and Instagram, which are both owned by Meta. Last year, Elon Musk bought Twitter, and then the platform started making a seemingly endless series of changes. These included shifting the algorithm of how certain posts are shown to users and slashing certain content moderation guidelines that were designed to limit hate speech and threats of violence.

Twitter began losing a lot of its ad revenue, but the changes didn’t stop there. To bring in more Twitter Blue paid subscribers, Musk also made tweaks to the verification feature, making it so Twitter Blue subscribers could adopt verification badges and causing a lot of legacy-verified users to lose their badges if they didn’t pay for the service.

More recently: For months, there have been rumors flying around about a possible Meta-developed app to fill the old-Twitter void. In the meantime, some Twitter users have been turning to alternatives such as Bluesky and Mastodon. Still, Twitter hasn’t completely lost all its steam. Then, last weekend, Musk established temporary post-reading limits, making Twitter largely unusable to millions within its userbase. And now, only Twitter Blue subscribers can access the TweetDeck dashboard interface.

The development: Meta just launched a new social media app called Threads. We mentioned the expected launch earlier this week, but let’s dive into it. This new text-post-based app is connected to Instagram, and some people are calling it the “Twitter killer.” The web version of the platform went live on Wednesday afternoon, and the app was released on Thursday. Threads profiles are connected to users’ Instagram accounts and vice versa. Its interface looks like the Instagram comments section but with reaction and sharing options. Users can also reply to and quote other posts. If you’re making a post, it can be sent off to the larger Threads community or made visible to a smaller group of people.

Within hours of its debut, Threads had signed up around 30 million new users. Following its debut, a letter potentially threatening legal action was published from Twitter attorney Alex Spiro of law firm Quinn Emanuel citing concerns that some of Meta's employees working on the app were former Twitter employees and that the app was a "copycat" that may have infringed upon Twitter's intellectual rights and trade secrets.

Key comments:

“I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Threads on Wednesday. “Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”

“The idea is to hopefully build an open, friendly space for communities,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said in an interview.

"It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram," Elon Musk tweeted.

“We’re often imitated – but the Twitter community can never be duplicated,” said Twitter’s new CEO Linda Yaccarino.

Source: Threads/@semafor
Source: Threads/@semafor