Let's Talk About @Threads, Baby.
Just when I thought there was no room for a new social media platform (at least for now), Mark Zuckerberg disrupted the world by being a #threadsetter (pun totally intended).
Photo by The Wall Street Journal
When Meta published the platform, my brain had so many thoughts to jot down I didn't know where to start. Elon Musk has agreed with a tweet claiming that Threads is a copycat of Twitter, but that's not entirely true. Let's discuss some of the significant differences:
Unverified users can only post videos that are 2:20 minutes long.
All users (verified and unverified) can post videos up to five minutes long.
Unverified users are limited to 280 characters per tweet. Verified users can tweet up to 25,000 characters.
All users have a limited 500 characters per thread (or, shall I say, a 500-thread count).
On Twitter, you can simply register with your email and password without the requirement to be a member of any other platform.
If you don't have Instagram, you can't have Threads. I appreciate the cross-promotion and the connection to a larger community, but this restriction is a personal pet peeve.
Twitter lets you view what's trending with an algorithm displaying content you might be interested in. This is not only an on-the-go access to current events, it's also vital for all industries.
Currently, the only way to stay up-to-date with the latest threads is by scrolling through the feed.
Twitter has used an advertising-based model for over a decade, allowing brands and businesses to connect with and attract their audience.
Bloomberg states that Threads' choice to exclude ads from its platform is a way to attract as many users as possible. But, this will not last; monetization is an integral part of social media success, and Zuckerberg's new platform will be swarming with ads and influencers within a year.
Private DMs and Hashtags
Twitter prides itself on using hashtags to increase reach. You can also send private DMs.
So far, it seems that Threads does not support hashtags. You'll also have to go back to Instagram to send private DMs.
While some differences are unique to Threads, Musk threatens to sue Meta for its copycat, accusing Zuckerberg of "unlawful misappropriation of Twitter's trade secrets and other intellectual property."
Musk's Threat to Sue Threads
Soon enough, Meta's new platform will hang by a thread (I won't stop with the puns). Musk has shared the cease-and-desist letter to Meta on his Twitter profile, claiming that Zuckerberg will lose this battle.
More specifically, Musk's letter includes specific grounds to sue Zuckerberg:
Twitter claims that Meta has hired numerous former Twitter employees this last year, with some who "had and continue to have access to Twitter's trade secrets and other highly confidential information." The claim states that Meta intentionally hired these employees to develop and publish the copycat app.
Unsurprisingly, Meta's communication director immediately responded to Musk's claim, stating that Meta has not assigned any former Twitter engineers and employees to the Threads team.
This bold move by Meta doesn't come without reason. The platform aims to develop a "friendly public space for conversation."
“We hope to take what Instagram does best and create a new experience around text, ideas, and discussing what's on your mind.”
It's about more than just a friendly space, however. Zuckerberg immediately jumped towards the opportunity to create a clone-like platform to convince users to transfer to a more "positive" space, notably after Twitter had decreased in popularity. Twitter has been going downhill due to unsettling decisions made by Musk, such as "overhauling its verification program and putting a limit on reading tweets in an attempt to transform Twitter into an all-inclusive app."
In fact, Meta has hinted at this underlying motivation:
“Obviously, Twitter pioneered the space,” Mosseri said. “But just given everything that was going on, we thought there was an opportunity to build something that was open and something that was good for the community that was already using Instagram.”
Will Threads be the official "Twitter Killer?"
Meta has suffered significant criticism and scandal over the years, particularly regarding its privacy concerns and data breaches. No platform will ever regain users' trust again, and critics have already brought to light numerous privacy concerns about Threads.
You may not want to read the fine print, so others did that for you. So far, many people have found that Threads can collect information about your health, finances, web history, location, purchases, search history, and other sensitive information. This issue is why the platform is not available in the European Union (yet).
Even still, Threads is off to a good start. In fact, since its launch three days ago (July 5), the platform has earned approximately 80 million users. It seems as though everyone is really tied up in it (ok, I'm done with the puns).
Currently, it is unclear whether Zuckerberg's new platform will survive. What do you think? Will Threads be the new Twitter?