Mark Zuckerberg, the mastermind behind Meta (formerly known as Facebook), unveiled his latest venture, Threads, positioning it as a direct rival to Twitter. Threads’ meteoric rise is a testimony to the platform’s potential, as it amassed millions of users in just a few hours following its launch. The rapid growth and adoption can be attributed to a host of celebrities and politicians, including Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who were quick to join and endorse the platform.
Zuckerberg marked his entry on Threads with a lively first post, excitingly announcing the platform’s record of 10 million sign-ups within seven hours. With this feat, the stage was set for a face-off between Threads and Twitter, further fueled by Zuckerberg’s humorous Spiderman meme on Twitter.
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Threads has an inherent advantage due to its integration with Instagram. This link offers Threads a ready-made user base and a potent advertising mechanism, potentially diverting advertising revenues from Twitter, which is currently grappling with its rejuvenation efforts under its new CEO. Threads allows users to log in with their Instagram credentials and seamlessly follow the same accounts, effortlessly integrating Threads into their existing social media routine.
The launch of Threads is viewed by many as an opportunity to establish a more harmonious version of Twitter, as expressed by Ocasio-Cortez in her post. Threads mimics Twitter’s functionality, featuring short text posts that users can engage with, sans direct messaging capabilities. However, Threads provides a more extensive post length of up to 500 characters, accommodating links, photos, and videos up to five minutes long.
As the world’s second-richest person, Elon Musk acquired Twitter for US$44 billion (about RM205 billion) last October. However, the investment’s value has significantly diminished amidst staffing cuts and content moderation controversies. Twitter’s new rule limiting the number of tweets users can read per day has not helped either.
Zuckerberg aims to overcome these challenges with Threads, highlighting the need for a public conversation app with over 1 billion users. Privacy considerations were central to Threads’ integration with Instagram, with options to manage privacy settings individually for each app. Several brands, including Billboard, HBO, NPR, and Netflix, jumped on the Threads bandwagon within minutes of its launch.
As Threads grows, Meta is leveraging the influence of social media influencers by inviting them to the new platform and encouraging regular posts. Despite several budding platforms attempting to rival Twitter, none have yet gained significant traction. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey-backed Bluesky only managed to accrue 50,000 users as of April since its beta launch in February.
While Meta has seen several standalone copycat apps fail in the past, the initial success of Threads signals a promising start. Zuckerberg advises patience, noting, “We’re only in the opening moments of the first round here.” It’s clear that the digital landscape is primed for a showdown between Threads and Twitter, with the world keenly watching who will dominate the social media space.
This article is based on information from Malaysia Now.