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6 Jul, 2023 12:16

Millions join Zuckerberg’s Twitter rival

The Meta chief says the app represents a “friendly” alternative to the Elon Musk-operated social network
Millions join Zuckerberg’s Twitter rival

Threads, Meta’s newly launched social media app intended to rival Twitter, saw ten million users sign up to the platform in its first seven hours, the company’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said.

Writing on the new platform soon after its debut late on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said the service would allow users to “build something great together” before revealing that it had received “10 million sign ups in seven hours.”

Threads is available on the Apple and Android online stores in around 100 countries, but its debut in the EU has been delayed due to privacy concerns.

The app has been hailed as an aggressive challenger to Twitter’s dominance of the social media market, which has come under fire due to several changes imposed on the platform following Elon Musk’s multi-billion-dollar takeover last year.

“It’ll take some time,” Zuckerberg wrote on the platform on Thursday in response to the question of whether Threads would become ‘bigger’ than Twitter. “But I think there should be a public conversation app with 1billion+ people on it.”

He added: “Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”

Threads has many features similar to those currently available on Twitter but will allow users to compose messages of up to 500 characters, compared to Twitter’s 280. Twitter’s paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, has a 10,000-character limit.

In response to a Threads post from American entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, commonly known as Gary Vee, soon after the app’s launch, Zuckerberg wrote that the development team “are definitely focusing on kindness and making this a friendly place.”

And in an apparent criticism of Elon Musk’s sometimes acerbic posts on Twitter, Zuckerberg wrote that so-called “s**t-posting,” a phrase used to describe the type of online trolling of which Musk is occasionally accused, is “not my style personally.”

In comparison to standalone social media challengers to Twitter’s throne like BlueSky and Mastodon, Threads has an advantage due to it having access to Meta-owned Instagram’s global audience of two billion people. Jasmine Engberg, an industry expert from Insider Intelligence, said Threads will only need one in four Instagram users to migrate to the platform “to make it as big as Twitter,” according to comments published by AdWeek on Wednesday.

There is no indication as of yet when the app will be available in the EU due to Brussels’ concerns about Meta’s handling of personal data on its Facebook and Instagram platforms. Harvesting user data is key to Meta’s targeted advertisements strategy, which delivers billions of dollars in profits each year.