It looks like Twitter, with many of the same users. But in its first few minutes of existence late Wednesday, Meta’s Threads offered an alternative to the struggling microblogging service that many of its disgruntled consumers are looking for.
Albeit slow under a crush of curious digital onlookers including Mark Cuban, Meta Platforms Inc.’s
new app instantly created a buzz. Several analysts and reporters asked the same question immediately: How do I import my Twitter followers to Threads?
“It pains me to think how long it will take me to build the same following I have on twitter LOL,” analyst Carolina Milanese, president of Creative Strategies, said in a message. (She has 16,300 followers on Twitter.) “The UI seems pretty clean and people have clearly jumped on it in the hope that it works out as it is clear that Twitter is not sustainable for anyone who uses for work or influence.”
Late Wednesday, Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg boasted that Threads had already attracted 2 million users in two hours.
Meta calls the free Threads “Instagram’s text-based conversation app.” Therein lies an early rub: To use Threads, consumers must establish an Instagram account, burying them even further into the Meta data hole. Early users of Threads were also inundated with a firehose of content from random strangers.
To appease privacy-sensitive types, Meta in a blog post said anyone under 16 (or under 18 in certain countries) will be defaulted into a private profile when they join Threads.
It was unclear what the nomenclature for Threads posts would be — “tweets” is already taken — but some suggested the thematically appropriate Stitches.
It remains to be seen if and how Meta proposes to build its Threads audience — it could leverage off of cultural events such as the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup or Wimbledon — or, more likely, those fed up with Twitter. In recent days, Twitter owner Elon Musk has placed restrictions on usage and is bringing a paywall to TweetDeck, hastening an exodus that began amid unfiltered content on Twitter.
Since Musk, who is chief executive of Tesla Inc.
acquired Twitter for $44 billion last year, Twitter users have flocked to alternative platforms like Bluesky, Mastodon, T2, Spill and others.
Threads posts can be up to 500 characters and include links, photos, and videos up to five minutes.
So far, Musk has not commented directly about Meta’s potential Twitter killer. But he did offer this answer to a query: