Meta’s Threads Gets 10 Million Users in 1st 7 Hours

Amid the turbulence facing Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg of Meta launched a potentially formidable competitor, Threads. This introduction escalates the ongoing feud between tech moguls Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, the current owner of Twitter.

“Let’s do this. Welcome to Threads,” was Zuckerberg’s inaugural post on the new app late Wednesday, accompanied by a fire emoji. He reported that the app saw an influx of 10 million sign-ups within its first seven hours. As of December 2022, Twitter was thought to have around 450 million active users monthly.

Threads, similar to Twitter, allows users to share brief text posts, engage with and share other’s posts. However, it does not currently include a direct messaging feature. Posts can contain up to 500 characters, and include links, images, and videos up to five minutes long, as mentioned in a Meta blog post.

The app is accessible in over 100 countries via Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.

Industry analysts speculate that Threads’ link to Instagram might provide it with a built-in user base and advertising framework. This could potentially divert advertising funds from Twitter, as the new CEO of the microblogging platform is grappling with the company’s faltering performance.

Although Threads is an independent app, users can sign in using their Instagram accounts and follow the same profiles. This feature could make Threads an effortless addition to the existing routines of Instagram’s more than 2 billion active users each month.

Meta’s shares rose 3% on Wednesday before the Threads launch, surpassing gains by other tech companies as the overall market slightly dipped. This move could be significant as it occurs during an escalating conflict between Zuckerberg and Musk, which has included threats of a physical showdown.

The launch of Threads capitalizes on a tumultuous period for Twitter under Musk’s stewardship, marked by erratic decision-making.

Since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter last October for $44 billion, the platform’s value has plummeted amidst advertiser departures, deep staffing cuts, and content moderation controversies. The latest change involved restricting the number of tweets users can read daily.

Zuckerberg addressed these issues in subsequent Threads posts, expressing hopes that Threads will succeed where Twitter faltered in achieving a user base of over 1 billion.

As part of its integration with Instagram, Threads also includes options for custom privacy settings for each app, and badges on Instagram profiles that can be hidden.

Several high-profile brands and celebrities set up accounts on Threads immediately after its launch, according to a Reuters review. The platform currently does not appear to display any advertisements.

Meta is actively courting social media influencers to adopt Threads and encouraging frequent posts, according to Ryan Detert, CEO of Influential, an influencer marketing company.

Threads’ potential success is aided by the inability of other budding Twitter competitors, like Mastodon, Post, Truth Social and T2, to capitalize on Twitter’s struggles. They remain relatively small platforms.

However, Meta has had past failures in launching standalone apps that mimic competitors, most famously with Lasso, a failed attempt to rival TikTok. Yet, Meta has learned from these setbacks, incorporating a short video feature, Reels, directly into Instagram.

A potential challenge for Threads could be the stark contrast between the news-focused culture of Twitter and Instagram’s more visually-driven platform, suggests Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence.

Nevertheless, Enberg points out that Meta only needs to persuade a quarter of Instagram’s users to join Threads to compete with Twitter’s size. “Meta doesn’t need to convert Twitter power users into Threads users” to succeed, she said.

In response to a user predicting Twitter’s downfall after Threads’ launch, Zuckerberg urged caution, saying, “We’re only in the opening moments of the first round here.”