Instagram’s hottest new Twitter-killer app, Threads, is here. And it looks like Twitter. Which is correct.
Many social media users are ready — even desperate — for a solid Twitter turnaround as the company stumbles through a particularly difficult phase of what many see as its gradual product deterioration under Elon Musk’s leadership. Last weekend, the company launched Limits the number of tweets People can read, which is a questionable business decision that is widely unpopular with users. While there are some alternatives like Mastodon and Bluesky, none have surpassed Twitter’s popularity with a critical mass of politically and culturally influential figures.
So Meta-owned Instagram decided to strike while the iron was hot. The Threads app was expected to launch later this month, only to be moved up to this Thursday, and now, today. The app will start going live for users in over 100 countries It is said that no In the European Union (more on that later).
“Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best, expand it into text, and create a positive and creative space to express your ideas,” wrote Instagram’s parent company, Meta. Company blog post On Wednesday.
Functionally, Threads is similar to Twitter, with a few minor differences. You can write short posts of up to 500 characters (versus Twitter’s 250) that include links, photos, and short videos up to five minutes in length. Your threads feed will be algorithmic, meaning a mix of people you follow and recommended content: just like Instagram. Twitter gives you the option to switch between algorithmic and timeline-based feeds of people you follow. But overall, based on initial screenshots of the app shared with Vox, the apps look and feel very similar.
The main defining feature that separates threads from Twitter is that it has decentralized ambitions. In the future, you’ll be able to link your thread posts to other social media platforms like Mastodon – a very different approach than Twitter. Restricts access to the free API For third-party developers. But according to Meta, the interoperability isn’t ready yet. Also, many everyday users don’t care much about who posts on it and how easy it is to use.
How will this new app actually work and what will it look like? And does it have a real chance of overtaking Twitter?
How to use it and what it looks like
To use threads, you need to download them separately from the Apple or Android store.
Once you have the app, you can log into your Instagram account and follow the same people you already follow on that platform. This is one of the biggest advantages of Threads over other Twitter alternatives: more than 2 billion people on Instagram already have a built-in social network, so, unlike Mastodon, you don’t have to rebuild your followers from scratch. .
The worlds of Instagram and Threads are very intertwined. If you’re verified on Instagram (which you can now pay for), that verification will be converted into threads. You can post your threads on Instagram as a story or as a link to another site.
Once you’re there, it works a lot like Twitter, albeit with the Instagram design flair, including the same Instagram font and icons. You can like, reply or repost the thread. Meta says the feed is a mix of people you follow and recommended content from people you don’t follow.
Getting the threads feed algorithm right will be key for Instagram. Many users have complained about Twitter showing a “for you” feed Too much content from random users They don’t want to see, and they miss the old-school default-timeline feed on Twitter. Let’s look at how users choose the threads they think they want to see, versus the posts they’ve voluntarily chosen.
What is a decentralized approach to texts?
Threads was the first app to push away from meta and toward “spreading” — requiring users to port their social media content and interact with users, with different apps all built on the same basic standard.
Mastodon is the most popular social network operating on a decentralized model, which advocates say could create a better web that isn’t dominated by a single social media company. Fibers, similarly, plans to take a decentralized approach.
But it’s not there yet.
Sometimes “soon,” the company wrote in a blog post, the threads will be compatible ActivityPub protocol. It is a system created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international organization that sets standards for the modern Internet, to govern how social networks can operate independently.
One day in the future, you’ll be able to see your Threads posts in other apps like Mastodon or WordPress, or vice versa, and users can comment on posts across apps. If you decide to stop using Threads altogether, you can port all your content into the new app.
“We believe this decentralized approach will play a key role in the future of online platforms, just as the protocols that govern e-mail and the Internet,” Meta wrote in a blog post.
Decentralization is a Exciting comment In today’s tech world, threads can be more appealing to a more digitally savvy audience. But most users don’t know about decentralization and don’t care much about it. What really matters is how many people download and love their experience with the app, which brings us to our next point.
Regulatory concerns and other hurdles
Meta runs up against some significant regulatory and reputational hurdles when launching this app globally.
For example, meta Not started Currently threads in the EU due to regulatory uncertainty in the EU with the new Digital Markets Act coming up. According to Bloomberg. The law restricts what major organizations designated as “gatekeepers” can do.
“Europe continues to be an incredibly important market for Meta. We are working on rolling out Threads in several countries and will continue to evaluate whether to launch in Europe, but upcoming regulatory uncertainty played into our decision not to launch now,” a Meta spokesperson told Vox in a statement.
Around privacy concerns, Meta said in its blog post that under-16s (or 18 in certain countries) will default to a private profile when they join a thread. From a security perspective, Instagram said it offers users the same tools as Instagram, including controlling who can mention or reply to you, hide certain offensive words in replies, and unfollow, block or limit accounts.
But as the EU challenges show, Instagram will have to overcome some privacy and security aspects alone that cannot be changed: a fundamental trust in its parent company, which has faced controversy over how it handles user data after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. 2018.
Also, you need to convince a critical mass of users that the threads are not only credible, but also relevant. The magic of Twitter is that it’s a place where powerful world leaders, nerdy writers, A-list celebrities, and everyday online users can all chat with each other about the news of the day. For threads to have the same effect, it would require culture starters who could make short, 500-character long posts.
Unlike Instagram proper, Twitter’s social currency is words, not images. Meta is bringing in major celebrities to join the initial version of the app. Already, big names like Malala Yousafzai, Shakira and Gordon Ramsay have used it, Meta confirmed. Threads may be the best opportunity for any Twitter competitor, and it needs more heavyweight figures whose words matter and the users who follow them.