Threads, the application developed by Meta to compete with Twitter, has appeared on Apple and Google services to download apps. The download cannot be done yet, but according to the indications provided on the App Store for iPhones, Threads will be available later this week. The arrival of the new application had been awaited for some time and in recent days, news and anticipations on the plans of Meta – which already controls Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – had intensified to take advantage of the confusion and inefficiencies that have afflicted Twitter since last autumn to get more people to switch to Threads.
At the moment there isn’t much official information on the new service, but according to the indications in the previews on the app stores, Threads will essentially be a text version of Instagram, designed to publish short posts in which you can mention other users and insert links, with a almost identical to that of Twitter and other services such as Mastodon. Each person registered on Instagram will be able to use the same account also for Threads and will be able to import the list of subscribers to their profile and of the people they follow. The application will still be separate and with distinct functionality from those normally available on Instagram.
The possibility of using the same account and starting immediately with the same followers should encourage the use of the new service, but it is not clear how many Instagram subscribers will also want to produce content on a sort of social network parallel to the one they usually use. However, Instagram is one of the largest and most used social networks in the world, as a result it will be able to immediately advertise the new service.
The description on the app stores provided by Threads Meta is however somewhat generic and could apply to practically any social network:
Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from topics that interest you today to topics that will be trending tomorrow. Whatever interests you, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and other people who love the same things, or build a following group of followers to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.
Previously talking about Threads some Meta makers had reported that their app would be “sanitary managed”, with a clear allusion to the chaotic management of Twitter after its acquisition by Elon Musk in October 2022. The social network has had numerous technical problems in recent days, such to make it necessary to limit the number of tweets that can be viewed each day, still does not produce enough revenue from advertising and struggles to convince users to switch to a paid version, which has become the only possibility to have a verified profile. The numerous disruptions and some statements by Musk have prompted many Twitter users to look for alternatives, without however finding convincing ones and this is why Meta has accelerated the development of Threads in the hope of intercepting the needs of those who are abandoning Twitter.
However, the launch of Threads is taking place in a complicated period also for Meta, which initially had invested heavily in the transition to the so-called “metaverse”, the parallel digital world in which, according to the company, people would have found themselves to carry on their relationships social, build new ones, have fun and work. The project did not receive the hoped-for interest and forced Meta to partially revise its plans, while facing a more difficult economic phase than usual linked to lower growth in advertising revenues. The company has cut numerous costs and laid off a large number of employees, refocusing some of the development activities around the artificial intelligence systems, which could then flow into a revised and updated version of the “metaverse” which the CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg , seems to still hold a lot.
However, Meta is one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world, consequently it is seen by analysts and experts as the most credible competitor to build an alternative version of Twitter. Put together, Meta’s social networks and apps have over 3 billion members and users of the services offered by the company. Zuckerberg had shown some interest in Twitter on several occasions, even trying to buy it in the early days when the platform was available. Over time, the CEO of Meta has reportedly oriented his apps towards more personal content and abandoned those strictly related to news, especially after the problems that emerged with fake news and disinformation campaigns during the 2016 US presidential election campaign. Threads could mark a return to content related to news and newspapers, considering that on Twitter news is preponderant over the rest.
Over the years Meta has produced numerous applications strongly inspired by other services already available online to try to steal their users. Many of those attempts were unsuccessful and petered out rather quickly, so it can’t be ruled out that something similar could happen with Threads as well. Paradoxically, the main architect of his success could be Elon Musk.