Facebook’s parent company Meta has launched the web version of its latest text-first social media platform Threads in a bid to attract more users and establish a competitive advantage over X (previously known as Twitter).
The eagerly awaited web version of Threads is poised to boost the platform’s utility for brands, influencers, corporates and advertisers.
The move will empower users with increased accessibility and functionality, further solidifying Threads' position in the social media landscape, Meta said.
The mobile-only version of Threads was launched on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems on July 6.
“The community here is on the trajectory I expect to build a vibrant long term app. Lots of work ahead but excited about the team's pace of shipping,” Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, said in one of his previous posts on Threads, where he has more than 3.3 million followers.
Threads had started rolling out its web version on August 22 to select users but has not come out with an official announcement about the widespread launch yet. Users in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Middle East are able to access it while it is still not available in many parts of Europe.
The launch of the Threads web versioncould help the platform boost its appeal especially as the initial influx of users has begun to wane.
Threads had a bumper launch at the start of July, driven by the immediate migration of Instagram users to the new social platform.
In less than a week after its launch, Threads managed to amass 100 million users around the world. Downloads of the app broke the previous record set by generative artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT that took nearly two months to cross the 100 million user mark.
Though this is impressive in terms of how quickly Threads accumulated users, for perspective, Facebook has about 2.9 billion users and Instagram, also owned by Meta, has more than 2 billion, according to Statista, a provider of market and consumer data.
For X, owned by the billionaire businessman Elon Musk, various data sets show that it has 300 to 500 million users, leaving a large chasm for Threads to close. X has also reportedly threatened to sue Meta over the new app.
User engagement on Threads has also slowed in the past few weeks. Threads’ daily active users on Android dropped from 49.3 million worldwide on July 7 to 23.6 million on July 14 and then to 10.3 million on August 7, according to web traffic analytics firm Similarweb.
In the US market, peak usage for Threads was 576,000 daily active users on August 7, compared to 2.3 million on July 7.
The average amount of time daily active users spent with the app started out at about 14 minutes globally on July 7 (it was significantly higher in the US at 21 minutes). By August 7, that was down to only 3 minutes, Similarweb data revealed.
For comparison, X has more than 100 million daily active users on Android, and they consistently spend about 25 minutes a day on it, it added.
Data from market intelligence firm Sensor Tower showed that Threads' daily active users, time spent, and sessions are all down more than 75 per cent as of July 25, compared to the first week of July. It added that X and Instagram have not experienced any material impact to daily active users, time spent, or sessions since Threads’ launch.
Threads is considered to be the most potent rival to X, which has experienced a period of turbulence since Mr Musk's $44 billion takeover last year.
How to get Threads on desktop
Users can go to threads.net and log-in into their Threads account. They can use the same Instagram credentials to access the new app. It will let users sign-in, post, view and interact with other posts through a web browser on a desktop computer. Meta said it plans to add more desktop features in the future.
What are Meta's expectations?
Meta is expecting to add to its bottom line through more traction on Threads in the upcoming quarters. Its second-quarter revenue surged an annual 11 per cent to $32 billion, exceeding analysts’ estimates of $31.12 billion. This is the first time the company has reported double-digit revenue growth since the last quarter of 2021.
Mr Zuckerberg said he is “quite optimistic” about the app’s potential.