Will Threads actually end Twitter?

Lewis Wake
Friday 7 July 2023

A new player has emerged to challenge the dominance of Twitter. Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram, has unleashed Threads, an app that aims to revolutionise the way we engage with online communities.

Graphic of Threads logo

Issues with Twitter

Twitter, once a beloved platform, has faced criticism in recent times. The platform’s users have grown weary of excessive ads, rampant bot accounts, limited features, and a pervasive sense of not belonging. These concerns have set the stage for Threads to step in and provide a refreshing alternative.

Features of Threads

In a press release from Meta, they state that Threads is a new way to share with text.

You log in using your Instagram account and posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to five minutes in length.

Meta’s intention is to make Threads compatible with the open, interoperable social networks that they believe can shape the future of the internet.

Threads stands apart from Twitter with its distinctive features. Meta has deliberately launched the app without ads. To register, users must have an Instagram account, effectively reducing bot activity.

The app also allows for unlimited posts, enabling users to freely express themselves. Moreover, Threads automatically connects users with their Instagram followers, fostering a sense of inclusivity and community.

It feels like a fresh start for a lot of people after the nightmare Twitter has been experiencing in the past year.

Screenshot of the sign up page for Threads

Excitement and incentives

Threads has captured the attention of social media enthusiasts, generating unprecedented excitement.

The rollout of the app has created a fear of missing out by ranking users based on registration time and allowing them to automatically increase their follower count preemptively.

Users are even encouraged to add people preemptively, heightening anticipation for their connections to join. This strategy has effectively made Threads feel like a thriving community, even in its early stages.

Limitations of Threads

While Threads brings promise, it does have its limitations.

The absence of trending topics, a defining feature of Twitter, is conspicuous.

Additionally, the app’s unavailability in the European Union due to data compliance issues poses a hurdle for potential users in that region.

Concerns about Meta’s data handling

Meta’s history with user data raises valid concerns. The company’s business model revolves around profiling users and selling their data to advertisers. Meta’s privacy policy highlights the extensive data sharing agreements required for using Threads.

Threads, in particular, requires users to agree to extensive data-sharing agreements, including sensitive information like health data, prompting scrutiny about privacy and information security.

There is an interesting clause in the Threads privacy policy that states that you cannot close your Threads profile and data without also deleting the associated Instagram profile.

Social media monopoly

Twitter has a monthly active user count of around 450 million. In only one day since it’s public launch, Threads as had over 44 million users join the platform.

The app is very much in phase one of it’s rollout. Once the active user count of Threads exceeds Twitter we could start to see the rollout of ads and other monetising ventures.

If Threads successfully challenges Twitter’s dominance, Meta would wield significant power in the social media landscape.

This raises concerns about a potential monopoly and the implications of a company with a questionable track record gaining control over multiple platforms.

Screenshots of Threads feed

App evaluation

Acknowledging Threads’ current advantages over its competition, it is crucial for Meta to address privacy concerns and improve the overall quality of the platform.

Users deserve transparency and reassurance that their data will be handled responsibly.

Ultimately, users hold the power to shape the platforms they use. If Meta demonstrates a genuine commitment to addressing privacy issues and fostering a positive user experience, it may earn a second chance from skeptical users. Only time will tell if Meta’s intentions align with creating a safer and more engaging social media environment.

Threads has emerged as a formidable contender in the realm of social media, challenging Twitter’s reign.

Its unique features, exciting incentives, and potential for positive change have garnered significant attention.

However, concerns about Meta’s data handling practices and the specter of a monopolistic social media landscape must not be overlooked.

Users must remain vigilant and voice their concerns while Meta must demonstrate its commitment to privacy and user well-being.

The future of social media lies in the hands of those who use it, and they must make informed choices that contribute to a healthier and more inclusive online world.

Screenshot of Threads showing a message about it's future integration with fediverse platforms

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