Threads, the Twitter competitor from Meta, is now available. The app has been in the works for months, and its launch comes after a flurry of rumors, leaks and, naturally, two billionaires pretending to duke it out.
Threads is a text-based social networking app that allows users to share short updates, photos and videos with their followers. Text-based posts can be up to 500 characters (far longer than the long-maligned Twitter cap of 140 originally) and videos can be up to five minutes long. It is designed to be a more personal and intimate platform than Twitter, and it features a number of privacy-focused features like word-filtering and limiting who can reply to your threads. The app is available on iOS and Android devices or on desktop at Threads.net.
The app has a similar interface to Twitter, featuring a minimal design and the ability to like, comment, repost and share threads. Threads is integrated with Instagram, so users can log in with their Instagram username and follow all the same accounts with one click.
Your Threads feed is currently a mix of recommended content and posts from accounts you follow. At the moment, there is no way to switch between these feeds, like you can on Twitter but we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s an early addition from Meta in coming months.
For some, the launch of Threads couldn’t have come at a better time. Twitter has recently imposed a number of new restrictions on users, including a limit on the number of posts unverified users can view per day (600 posts, or 300 posts for new unverified accounts). Twitter has also blocked logged-out users from viewing tweets on the platform and created a new version of TweetDeck that requires a verified subscription.
These restrictions have been met with mixed reactions from users. Some have expressed frustration with the limitations, while others have welcomed the changes as a way to improve the quality of the platform.
As for Meta? Here’s what they had to say about Threads: “We believe this decentralized approach, similar to the protocols governing email and the web itself, will play an important role in the future of online platforms. Threads is Meta’s first app envisioned to be compatible with an open social networking protocol — we hope that by joining this fast-growing ecosystem of interoperable services, Threads will help people find their community, no matter what app they use.”
Meta is launching Threads in over 100 countries but it won’t be available in the European Union for now (seemingly due to the differing laws in the EU).
It is still early days, but the app has already made a strong start with Mark Zuckerberg alleging it has already seen 30 million downloads (nearly a tenth of Twitter’s current users).
Overall, Threads is yet another social platform for a socially burnt-out society to download but it does have the potential to appeal to a wide range of users looking for a more intimate and authentic online experience.