Meta launches Threads, its app to rival Twitter, a day early

Meta Platforms Inc. launched Threads, its rival to Twitter, a day early Wednesday.

“Let’s do this. Welcome to Threads,” Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg posted on the new app.

The text-based app, a spinoff of Meta’s

Instagram, had been set to launch Thursday morning, but instead went live for users in the U.S. and more than 100 other countries Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern. The free app is now available for download on Apple’s

App Store and Alphabet’s


Google Play store, and by using a QR code at the website

For more: Meta’s Twitter rival Threads: How to sign up, what it costs and what we know so far

Meta shares, which rose almost 3% Wednesday, gained more than 1% in after-hours trading immediately after the app launched.

Threads users will be able to use their Instagram user names and import their followers, and will be able to post messages, follow new accounts and post public replies, much like Twitter.

“Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas,” Instagram said in a blog post.

The app is the most serious challenge yet to Twitter, which Elon Musk has transformed since buying it for $44 billion last year. Since then, Twitter has slashed its staff, lifted many safety restrictions and become less stable. It has also made many of its features available only to subscribers who pay $8 a month. Over the weekend, Musk throttled Twitter users from viewing too many tweets, further outraging users.

Also see: Meta’s Threads could be a ‘Twitter killer’ — or could be a dud

When asked if Threads could become bigger than Twitter — which has about 356 million monthly active users worldwide, compared to Instagram’s 2 billion — Zuckerberg posted: “It’ll take time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”

Zuckerberg tweeted Wednesday for the first time since 2012, acknowledging the obvious similarities between Threads and Twitter.

In a Threads post Wednesday night, Zuckerberg said the app had surpassed 2 million signups in its first two hours.

Also see: Threads debuts to crush of users and a question: How do I import followers from Twitter?

Threads posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos and videos up to 5 minutes long.

Instagram’s blog post announcing Threads prominently addressed safety — a concern and complaint of many Twitter users after Musk restored many banned accounts and relaxed restrictions.

“We built Threads with tools to enable positive, productive conversations,” Instgram said. “You can control who can mention you or reply to you within Threads.” It added that users can block, restrict or report troublesome profiles, and that Instagram’s community guidelines will be enforced on the new app.

Threads will also soon be made compatible with interoperable networks that support the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress, “allowing new types of connections that are simply not possible on most social apps today.” That would allow users to more easily follow and interact with people over multiple platforms.

“We’re working on Threads soon being compatible with the open, interoperable social networks that we believe can shape the future of the internet,” the blog post said. “We believe this decentralized approach, similar to the protocols governing email and the web itself, will play an important role in the future of online platforms.”

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