Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is all set to launch an app titled ‘Threads’ aimed at being an alternative to Twitter. According to Apple’s App Store, the app is expected to launch on July 6. In the listing at the App Store, it’s titled “Threads, an Instagram app”.
The App Store description read, “Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow. Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite 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”.
The listing also provided screenshots of the app. As per the listing, the users can sign up from their Instagram account and keep their username. According to a US-based tech portal TechCrunch report, Threads will be linked to Instagram and could have a leg up on Twitter since it directly imports a user’s Instagram followers and following lists.
As per the reports, instead of rebuilding a community from scratch, Threads users will already have their existing Instagram circles. Though Threads is closely related to Instagram, it will be its own app, enabling users to comment on, repost, and share content.
The screenshots on the App Store also reveal that you may choose who can comment on your posts: everyone, individuals you follow, or only those named in the post. The app aims to bring together communities to debate various subjects and connect with favourite creators. Threads, which blends Instagram and Twitter aspects, is likely to draw both existing Instagram users and new people when it launches.
Twitter ex-CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted the recent listing of Threads on July 4. In reference to user data collecting, he made a sly jab at Meta and shared the screenshot of all the data that Threads will collect from the users. Dorsey states, “All your threads belong to us”. The current owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, responded ‘Yeah’ in agreement with Dorsey.
— jack (@jack) July 4, 2023
In May, the information about Threads was leaked to the public. As per the reports, the company was testing the project idea of a Twitter-based app with celebrities and influencers. For months, Instagram has been in touch with a few select creators.
According to Lia Haberman, who taught social and influencer marketing at UCLA and tweeted a snapshot of an early app description, the new app will be independent of Instagram but allow users to connect accounts.
On May 19, she first revealed the details of this new app in her newsletter, ICYMI. Later, she revealed the app’s details in a series of tweets. She stated the app is similar to Instagram and Mastodon, “The decentralized app is built on the back of Instagram but will be compatible with some other apps like Mastodon. So, users on other apps will be able search for, follow and interact with your profile and content”. The users can connect with their existing followers.
Then she talked about increased word limit in text-based updates, “the app will have a centralized feed showcasing your followers and recommended content. You can post text updates up to 500 characters (that’s less than an Instagram caption, an extended tweet or a LinkedIn post, so be concise!) And also videos and images”. Users can attach links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes long.
Haberman also talked about the safety features, “the app will have creator controls and account safety features. For example, accounts you’ve blocked on IG will carry over Hidden words you’ve selected on IG will also carry over”. The app will follow Instagram’s community guidelines and be enabled by 2-factor authentication.
While talking about the developments in Meta, she stated, “historically, we know Meta likes to sample and recreate features from other apps and third-party tools based on what they anticipate being popular with their users”.
Though Meta’s side projects haven’t always been a success, it discontinued apps such as the anonymous teen app tbh, the Cameo-like app Super, the Nextdoor clone Neighbourhoods, the couples app Tuned, the student-focused social network Campus, the video dating service Sparked, and others in recent years. On the other hand, Threads is launching at the perfect time to profit from Twitter’s ongoing problems.