Meta's Threads registers 10 million sign-ups in first seven hours, Zuckerberg says

Platform is considered to be a potential rival to Twitter, which has experienced turbulence since Elon Musk's $44bn takeover last year

Users aged 12 and above will be able to log into the Threads app through their Instagram accounts. AFP
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Meta Platforms’ new Threads app registered 10 million sign-ups in the first seven hours of its launch, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said.

Threads is here. Let’s do this,” Mr Zuckerberg, who already has 340,000 followers on the new platform, said on Wednesday in posts on the app and on Facebook.

“The goal is to keep it friendly as it expands. I think it’s possible and will ultimately be the key to its success. That’s one reason why Twitter never succeeded as much as I think it should have, and we want to do it differently.”

Threads, Instagram’s text-based conversation app, marks the highest-profile attempt so far to challenge the primacy of rival social media platform Twitter.

Threads is where “communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow”, according to its listings on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.

“Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favourite creators and others who love the same things – or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.”

Users aged 12 and older will be able to log into the app through their Instagram accounts.

The app allows people to post threads, reply to others and follow profiles that they are interested in.

Threads and replies can include short pieces of text, links, photos, videos or a combination of them.

People can follow users to see their threads and replies in their feeds. Access to posts on Threads will be determined by a profile’s privacy setting.

However, the newest app’s data policy was mocked by Twitter chief executive Elon Musk and its founder Jack Dorsey.

Threads said users’ financial and contact information, browsing history, health and fitness information, usage data, purchases and location may be collected by the app.

“All your Threads are [sic] belong to us,” Mr Dorsey wrote in a tweet with a screenshot showing Threads' privacy policy.

Mr Dorsey launched his competitor to Twitter – Bluesky – this year. Mastodon, an open-source social network created by a German developer, has also been regarded as an alternative to Twitter.

Mr Zuckerberg said there should be a public conversations app with more than one billion people on it.

“Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully, we will,” he said.

“I’m currently planning to use my Instagram broadcast channel for daily product updates and Threads for discussion and sharing thoughts, but we’ll see where these platforms go …”

While a Meta representative said the new app would be available in more than 100 countries, Threads was not available in some EU countries due to regulatory concerns.

The app is available to download for users in the UAE.

Threads is considered to be the most potent rival to Twitter, which has experienced a period of turbulence since Mr Musk's $44 billion takeover last year.

What differentiates Threads from Twitter is that it is decentralised, meaning no single individual or organisation owns or regulates it, similar to cryptocurrencies – exactly what Mr Musk envisions for the microblogging platform.

The first sign of Threads emerged in March when it was reported that Meta would launch an Instagram-branded app to take on Twitter, which was confirmed to The National by a company representative. At the time, the project was known as “P92".

Screenshots on the App Store show features such as the ability to find followers and follow the same accounts being followed on Instagram, as well as conversations that are similar to Instagram threads.

One more advantage Threads will have is that its users will already have their Instagram circles to draw from, instead of starting over and building a new community.

Despite this, Threads is a stand-alone app. When you first use the app, you will be given the option to automatically follow all the same accounts you follow on Instagram.

Compatibility-wise, Threads is available on devices running iOS 14 or later. It is also available to download for Android users.

It will not be available for iPads – unsurprising since Instagram is also not on Apple’s tablets.

“Our plan is to make Threads part of the fediverse – a social network of different servers operated by third parties that are connected and can communicate with each other,” the Threads app said.

“Our vision is that Threads will enable you to communicate with people on other fediverse platforms that we don’t own or control.”

As of January, Instagram had about two billion users while its sister platforms Facebook and WhatsApp had 2.96 billion and two billion, respectively, the latest data from Statista shows. In comparison, Twitter has about 556 million users.

Updated: July 07, 2023, 5:43 AM