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Threads: Meta’s New Social Media Platform Outpaces Twitter Amid Controversy and Criticism




Meta Platforms Inc., formerly Facebook, has ventured into the dynamic landscape of social media once again with its newly launched app, Threads. Leveraging frustration with Twitter and applying the tactics famously employed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg’s latest brainchild has rapidly gained traction. The microblogging platform achieved a record 100 million signups in its first five days, marking a significant milestone in its history.

Threads: Leveraging User Frustration with Twitter

Threads launched against the backdrop of widespread discontent with Twitter, especially since Elon Musk’s contentious $44 billion acquisition last year. The dissatisfaction stems from the volatile, toxic nature of conversations and sudden policy changes under Musk’s leadership. “[Musk] has lost users, he has lost advertisers… A lot of the world does not trust his leadership of Twitter, and they really are looking for an alternative,” commented Tim Bajarin, Chair of Creative Strategies, a tech market research firm.

A Strategic Approach to Social Media

Never one to shy away from embracing good ideas from tech competitors, Zuckerberg has taken a page out of Steve Jobs’s book with Threads. The Meta CEO has been successful with this tactic before, as demonstrated by Instagram Stories, a Snapchat clone, and Reels, which borrowed heavily from TikTok’s short-form videos. “Jobs was the king of seeing, of letting someone else take the lead and doing it better than anybody, especially with the iPod, the iPhone, and even the Apple Watch,” Bajarin said. In Threads, Meta has borrowed many elements from Twitter, offering users a new platform for social interaction. By making it easy for Instagram users to import their followers, Meta has capitalized on its existing user base to achieve exponential growth.

Threads: A New Challenge to Twitter’s Dominance

Threads’ launch was met with criticism from Elon Musk, who accused Meta of “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation” of Twitter’s “trade secrets” and other intellectual property. Meta also faces potential confusion with a namesake app launched in 2016 by Cynthia Zordich, wife of retired NFL player Michael Zordich. However, none of these challenges dampened the enthusiasm of potential users. On the first day of its launch, Threads attracted 2 million signups in two hours, 5 million signups in four hours, and 10 million registered users in seven hours.

Threads’ Success: Preliminary Excitement or Sustainable Growth?

While the initial response to Threads has been overwhelmingly positive, concerns remain about its sustainability and feature set. The app still lacks key features, such as support for ActivityPub, post search, direct messages, and hashtags, and it does not allow nudity on its platform due to Instagram’s rules. Yet, despite these gaps, Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, believes Meta possesses the necessary market power to attract a large audience to Threads, leading to potential incremental revenue.

Wall Street’s Verdict on Threads

Analysts covering Meta have tempered their enthusiasm about Threads, predicting the new app will generate incremental revenue at best, likely starting in 2024. Despite this, Zuckerberg seems to have regained some investor confidence after a year of cost-cutting following major missteps and lavish spending on the unproven Metaverse. As of now, OpenAI’s ChatGPT bot is considered one of the fastest-growing consumer products. Threads’ ability to sustain its user base and maintain its growth trajectory will be the real challenge and test of success. Yet, reaching 100 million users in such a short time is no small feat, suggesting Threads might be here to stay.