Instagram is taking on Twitter with Threads

The ‘volatility’ of Twitter under Elon Musk has opened a window to compete. It’s a ‘risky’ bet worth trying. Don’t you think so?

While Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are still preparing for a possible cage match, starting today, their two companies are officially battling.

Meta has released Threads, its standalone Twitter competitor that is based on Instagram’s account system. According to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, Twitter’s “volatility” and “unpredictability” under Musk provided the opening to compete.

In an interview, Mosseri says that Threads is designed for “public conversations,” a direct reference to how Twitter execs have described the purpose of the service over the years.

“Obviously, Twitter pioneered the space,” according to Mosseri. “And there are a lot of good offerings out there for public conversations. But just given everything that was going on, we thought there was an opportunity to build something that was open and something that was good for the community that was already using Instagram.”

Meta has been planning to release Threads, its self-described “sanely run” version of Twitter, for a while. The backlash to Musk’s recent limiting of how many tweets people can see per day was a catalyzing event for getting the app out the door this week, according to internal company documents I’ve seen. They also say that Meta expects “tens of millions” of people to try Threads within the first few days of availability.

As Mosseri describes it, Threads is a “risky endeavor,” especially since it’s a new app people have to download.

Meta has made the onboarding process easier by letting you auto-populate your account info and follow list from your Instagram.

Another dynamic Threads has to contend with is that Twitter has been around for a long time and built up a unique network that is hard, if not impossible, to replicate.

Even with Musk’s antics over the past several months, it’s clear Meta knows that unseating Twitter won’t be easy. 

Twitter has got a lot of history; it has an incredibly strong and vibrant community on it. The network effects are incredibly strong.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram

Threads is strikingly similar to Twitter in key ways. The app’s main feed shows threads (or, “posts”) from accounts you follow, along with accounts recommended by Instagram’s algorithm.

You can repost something with your own commentary, and replies are featured prominently in the main feed. There is no feed of only people you follow, though that could be added later.

image: Meta

Posts on Threads can be up to 500 characters long and include photos or videos that are up to five minutes long. There are no ads, at least for now — adding those will be a “champagne problem” if Threads achieves enough scale.

There also isn’t a paid verification scheme that unlocks additional functionality, though Instagram’s blue checks will port over to Threads accounts.

With some exceptions for extreme cases like the sharing of child exploitation imagery, moderation actions Meta takes against a Threads account will not impact its associated Instagram account.

Thanks to the deep ties between Threads and Instagram, you can quickly share posts from Threads to your Instagram story or feed. There’s also the ability to share links to Threads posts in other apps.

Threads is initially available in 100 countries, including the US, but not in the European Union. It’s being excluded from the EU initially due to “the complexities with complying with some of the laws coming into effect next year,”.

That’s likely a reference to the Digital Markets Act, which imposes a bunch of new legal obligations on so-called “gatekeeper” platforms like Meta.

you need a website

Meta plans to eventually hook Threads into ActivityPub, the decentralized social media protocol that also powers Mastodon. That integration isn’t ready at launch, though. When it’s enabled, Threads users will be able to interact with Mastodon users and take their accounts with them to other clients that support the ActivityPub standard.

This is a move designed to appease creators who have grown increasingly wary of relying on the whims of centralized social media companies. 

Threads is a more compelling platform for creators, particularly for the newer creators who are more and more savvy, curious and creative.

in a short span of time, cod.e shall be looking into the functionalities of threads and looking at it from a developer perspective in having to see a product scale in terms of engagements, conversions and monetization.

kivuti kamau

Data Modelling, Design & Development

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