All you need to know about Instagram Threads, Meta's new #TwitterKiller

Following its launch, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg and Twitter CEO Elon Musk were caught in a war of words, teasing a 'cage-fight' with each other over their respective micro-blogging apps

Interface of Meta's newly launched app Threads (photo: App Store)
Interface of Meta's newly launched app Threads (photo: App Store)

NH Digital

Tech giant Meta officially launched Instagram's micro-blogging counterpart 'Threads' on Thursday, July 6, in over 100 countries through both Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store.

It has not yet been launched in the European Union due to data privacy concerns. It is available for download in India at present.

The brand-new app has already clocked in over 10 million sign-ups in its first seven hours. Additionally, Meta's stock rose by 3% prior to the launch, surpassing the gains of competing tech companies.

Dubbed the "Twitter-killer app" and "Twitter's standalone rival", Threads has been advertised as Twitter's most formidable competitor so far — leading to a war of words between the two respective CEOs — Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk — ultimately leading to them challenging each other to a 'cage-fight'.

What is Threads?

Similar to Twitter in its functionality and interface, Threads is a micro-blogging platform, allowing users to share short text posts, like, repost, and reply to content. However, it does not have direct messaging capabilities.

Meta's blog post revealed that text posts on Threads can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos can be up to 10 in number, and videos can be up to five minutes in duration.

"Threads is a new app, built by the Instagram team, for sharing text updates and joining public conversations," reads Meta's description. Instagram users can log in to the app using their existing credentials and the two apps are connected to each other — the same followers, bio, links are transferrable. Thus, users can skip the hassle of filling out their details once again.

Once a user downloads Threads, a 'serial number' will be displayed above their Instagram profiles, seamlessly connecting the two platforms and allowing users to locate each other.

However, the integration with Instagram implies that once a user has created a Threads account, they will only be able to delete it once they delete their Instagram accounts. This feature has created an uproar among netizens, who don't wish to 'commit' to the new app-on-the-block just yet.

Twitter vs Threads

Slightly behind Twitter in terms of features, the newly-minted app does not have Twitter's latest 'Spaces' features, direct messaging, engagements, trending topics, personalisation, saving drafts and several others.

Meta has confirmed that Threads will give users a 500-character count limit, much higher than the 280-character limit for unverified Twitter users. Similarly, while 5-minute videos can be posted on Threads, Twitter only allows for 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

Significantly, verified Instagram users will also automatically remain verified on Thread, as opposed to Twitter's subscription process, recently overhauled by Elon Musk, which requires users to buy the 'buy' the blue tick or upgrade to 'Twitter Blue' for Rs. 900/month and Rs. 9400/year.

Threads has also been launched without any advertisements. According to Meta, this has been done to get as many people excited about the product as possible.

Netizens have also pointed out the many privacy concerns of Threads, highlighting that the app is collecting more user-related data than Twitter. Notably, the app collects some sensitive information such as physical address, health and fitness data, and Other User Contact Info and other sensitive information within the app.

The tech-wiz Zuckerberg-run company has been heavily scrutinised over its privacy issues several times in the past.

Industry analysts say investors could be excited about Threads' potential due to its integration with Instagram, which may provide a built-in user base and advertising opportunities, tapping in Instagram's massive and loyal user base of 2.35 billion people.

"Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas. Just like on Instagram, with Threads you can follow and connect with friends and creators who share your interests — including the people you follow on Instagram and beyond," said Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg addressed Twitter's challenges in a Threads post, stating, "I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn't nailed it. Hopefully, we will."

Responding to a user who predicted Twitter's demise shortly after the Threads launch, Zuckerberg advised patience, stating, "We're only in the opening moments of the first round here."

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