Meta’s Twitter rival Threads just went live and has already exceeded 10 million signups within the first seven hours, according to (a Thread by) CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The app is now available globally (except in Europe), with the rapid signup pace showing Meta’s enormous ability to scale up compared to other Twitter rivals like Bluesky — which still requires invite codes.
To, er, mark the occasion, Zuckerberg tweeted for the first time in over a decade with the classic Spider-Man standoff picture (showing that unlike Elon Musk, he actually knows how memes work). “10 million signups in seven hours,” he added on Threads.
With Threads, Meta is taking on Twitter and alternatives like Mastodon. It’s under the purview of Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, who is planning to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub. That’s the source protocol that powers Mastodon and other decentralized services sometimes collectively referred to as the “Fediverse.”
Threads is strongly tied to Instagram and built on the same platform, giving Meta an effective way to advertise it. Any users who pre-ordered the app on iOS received a push notification when Threads went live, another move that no doubt boosted signups.
The site is not without early teething issues, though. The biggest complaint is the lack of a chronological, following-only feed, with users stuck with whatever the Threads algorithm decides to push their way. (“95 percent of the posts I see are completely irrelevant to me,” complained one user). It also lacks post editing (which Facebook and Instagram both have), hashtags, account switching and more.
Mosseri has addressed all those issues, posting on Threads that a following-only feature is “on the list.” He said the same about post editing and account switching, and added that hashtags will be tappable “in time.”
Another key problem for many users is the lack of a web version of Threads. Much like Instagram was for a long time, Threads is read-only on browsers, with posting limited to the iOS and Android apps (Mosseri has yet to address this). Finally, the design of Threads seems to be a love it or hate it affair, with some users finding the layout less intuitive than Twitter.
Verification remains another key talking point. Elon Musk famously changed Twitter’s system so that only Twitter Blue subscribers would receive the blue check mark (or very notable public figures and news sites). That made the experience less enjoyable for many users, as it became difficult to tell who was an official athlete, celebrity, journalist, etc.
So far, only users verified on Instagram (and not Facebook) have received the blue badge on Threads. While Instagram verification is notoriously more difficult to get, it’s largely held by influencers and creators. But Threads is positioned as a discussion site and will likely be focused on news (if it’s to compete with Twitter), so it might make sense to allow Facebook verified users to also be verified on Threads — or create an all-new verification system.
In any case, it’s still early days for Threads and the app will no doubt change substantially in the near future. It’s clear that users have strong opinions — whether Meta listens to them or not will be an interesting story over the next few months.
Published at Thu, 06 Jul 2023 09:08:38 +0000