Meta Platforms, the company previously known as Facebook, has launched its latest social media offering. Threads is the company’s not-so-veiled answer to short-form text app Twitter. Since it went live Wednesday night, users have started 30 million accounts.
That is, according to a post Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made via his brand-new Threads account. “It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it,” he wrote in a separate reply. “Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”
A Tale of Two Platforms
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg (who is in talks to face off against Twitter owner and fellow billionaire Elon Musk in an MMA fight) has spoken in no uncertain terms about the rivalry. Last night, he sent out his first tweet in over a decade: the Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man meme.
— Mark Zuckerberg (@finkd) July 6, 2023
Twitter has suffered a mass exodus of advertisers and tarnished reputation since Musk bought it for $44 billion and took over last fall, cutting key staff as his first order of business. In June, former NBCUniversal exec Linda Yaccarino took over as CEO. The timing of Threads’ launch falls mere days after Musk announced rate limits preventing unverified accounts from seeing more than 600 tweets per day.
Meta has encountered recent setbacks of its own, to be sure. After reigning supreme in the social media ecosystem for well over a decade, its flagship platform Facebook also lost a significant amount in advertisement thanks to security protocols introduced on Apple devices in 2021. The company has laid off roughly 11,000 workers between 2022 and 2023.
So Threads is… Twitter, but More Instagram?
Meta’s entire business model is practically to imitate competitor platforms when it can’t outright buy them. But what does it plan to offer via Threads that hasn’t been available on Twitter?
Aside from a “friendly public space for conversation” per Zuck, there are a few short answers. Each post has a 500-character limit and can include up to five minutes of video (compared to Twitter’s 280 characters and two minutes, 20 seconds). Threads populates your username from your Instagram account — a relatively frictionless process likely contributing to its swift adoption.
Threads will need more than that to go the distance, though. Meta put itself in such a precarious position because it routinely made quarterly profits a bigger priority than rewarding the creation of meaningful content on its apps. Especially for those of us who work in creative industries, this has led to less and less time spent on services like Facebook and Instagram.
At least for the time being, though, Threads seems to have a captive audience. With that being said, follow the new Party Guru Productions account here!