Unveiling Threads: Meta’s Game-Changing Twitter Alternative


Meta wants to establish its own short message service with “Threads”. This is then in direct competition with Elon Musk’s Twitter.

Since Monday, July 3, 2023, the “Threads” application has been appearing in the app stores for Android and iOS in the USA, among others. In the app description, it says, “Discussions bring communities together to discuss everything from topics you care about today to trends tomorrow.” If you take a closer look at the app, you get the picture of a mix of Twitter and Instagram. And that’s exactly what Meta, the company behind the app, seems to be doing.

Mark Zuckerberg wants to compete with Twitter

A lot has changed in the short message service since Elon Musk took over Twitter in the fall of 2022. The tech billionaire has not only turned the company upside down in terms of personnel and laid off many employees. Along with blue ticks, it also introduced a subscription model for Twitter. The tone on the platform has also changed. This is largely because Musk’s position is that Twitter has restricted its users’ free speech by deleting or moderating certain tweets; it therefore excludes such an approach. As a result, hate speech and tweets with politically extreme stances have increased since Musk’s takeover, according to industry watchers.

In addition, the use of Tweetdeck, a user account management software, mainly used by professional Twitter users, will now only be usable with a Twitter Blue subscription. Other restrictions may follow. In early July, Twitter set a temporary limit on the number of tweets users can view in a day. The limit for non-paying users was gradually increased to 1000 tweets. However, those who want to see more can only do so with Twitter Blue.

All this has already caused some resentment, especially since there have been more and more technical failures on the platform as the restructuring has progressed. New Twitter competitors like Mastodon are already trying to take this line, so far with rather moderate success. With threads, things look a little different from the start. Behind it is the Instagram platform and thus Mark Zuckerberg’s giant company Meta.

What can the Threads Platform do?

In addition to Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp also belong to the meta group and therefore to some of the most extensive services in the world. Accordingly, the Threads app is also on Instagram and thus an already existing network of more than a billion monthly connected user. This will give Threads a huge advantage over other competitors right from the start.

In fact, there was an extended Instagram app called Threads in 2019. With it, it was possible to share texts, photos and videos with close friends. However, the service was discontinued in 2021 because the similarity with Facebook Messenger was too great.

The new feed looks a lot like Instagram in design, and so does how it works – except you can also post text without images. Subsequent functions are then similar to those of Twitter. You can interact, like, comment, share or send messages or “threads” as they are probably called.

Instagram is directly responsible for developing the app. Chats can therefore also be easily set up with the existing Instagram account. However, the new application has an additional connection to the ActivityPub social network protocol. This allows users to easily move their account and follower base to other compatible networks, such as Mastodon.

When does the thread start?

In fact, the new supply is expected to start on Thursday (July 6, 2023). The platform will then be available to users in the US and UK. From then on, “Threads” will probably be gradually launched in other countries as well.

As the Irish daily newspaper “Independent” reported, a start in Europe is not planned at the moment. This was likely the result of a request to the Irish Data Protection Commission DPC. Since parent company Meta has its European base in the Irish capital Dublin, the DPC would be responsible for such a request. But that doesn’t mean that “Threads” won’t be available in Europe at some point in the future. Such a move just doesn’t seem to be in the near future.

One reason for this could be that Meta wants to observe how threads grow first. On the other hand, the exchange of data between Instagram and Threads could also become problematic under the European data protection regulation. This would affect location or search history data, which would then be automatically shared to chat threads. However, this does not comply with applicable European legislation. Depending on the success of the service in other countries, efforts could then be made to make appropriate technical adjustments and roll out wires in EU member countries.

This article is originally published on nouvelles-du-monde.com


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