Meta looks to target Twitter with a rival app called Threads
Meta is set to introduce a new app that bears a striking resemblance to Twitter, presenting a direct challenge to Elon Musk's social media platform.
The app, called Threads, recently surfaced on Apple's App Store, hinting at a potential launch as early as Thursday. Described as a "text-based conversation app," Threads is linked to Instagram and promises a microblogging experience reminiscent of Twitter.
According to the app listing, Threads will serve as a hub for communities to engage in discussions spanning current interests and upcoming trends. "Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what'll be trending tomorrow," the description states.
Screenshots displayed on the App Store reveal that Instagram users will be able to retain their usernames and follow the same accounts within the new app. Meta, the parent company of Instagram, declined to comment on the development of the app.
In response to a tweet from Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, wherein he stated, "All your Threads belong to us," Elon Musk simply replied with a single word, "Yeah." Accompanying his response was a screenshot from the App Store's privacy section, highlighting the potential collection of personal information by the new Meta app.
Threads could potentially add to the growing list of challenges for Musk, who acquired Twitter for $44 billion last year. His recent modifications, which have unsettled advertisers and alienated users, include implementing daily limits on the number of tweets people can view.
According to Matt Navarra, a social media consultant, Meta's timing couldn't be better, as Twitter users are becoming increasingly frustrated with Musk's changes and actively seeking a viable alternative. Navarra suggests that Threads presents an opportunity for users to migrate to a platform that can provide many of the features they desire from Twitter, but which Twitter no longer offers.
Navarra further points out that enabling Instagram users to seamlessly transfer their profiles to Threads could give the new app a significant advantage by instantly providing a ready-made set of accounts for users to follow. Navarra, who previously served as the director of social media at tech news site The Next Web and as a digital communications adviser for the British government, shares this insight.
In recent days, Twitter has introduced a series of unpopular changes, including a mandate that users must be verified to utilize the online dashboard TweetDeck. This policy, announced on Monday and set to take effect in 30 days, seems aimed at generating additional revenue since users will need to pay for account verification under Musk's revised guidelines. TweetDeck is particularly popular among companies and news organizations, allowing users to manage multiple Twitter accounts.
These developments follow the backlash against Musk's announcement over the weekend, wherein he disclosed that Twitter would restrict the number of daily tweets users can view, purportedly to prevent unauthorized scraping of potentially valuable data.
However, Navarra mentions that Meta's track record on data privacy might deter some users from fully embracing Threads. Additionally, Twitter challengers like Mastodon have struggled to attract a substantial user base.
"It's difficult to gauge whether the discontent and frustration are strong enough to result in a mass exodus or if it will lead to a gradual erosion of users," says Navarra.
Furthermore, the rivalry between Musk and Meta Platforms could potentially spill over into real life. In an online exchange between Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the two tech billionaires seemingly agreed to a face-off in a cage match. However, it remains uncertain whether this confrontation will actually materialize.