Whether or not you are ready for yet another social media app, Threads is here. The text-centric platform goes head-to-head with Twitter, focusing on real-time updates and public conversations.

The Threads app racked up tens of millions of users its first day, according to a thread posted by Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of its parent company, Meta. It only takes a few taps to sign up, since users can log in using their Instagram account and that username, profile picture and bio carry over instantly. One tap allows new users to automatically follow everyone on Threads that they’re already following on Instagram. 

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“Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas,” according to a Meta news release. Posts can have up to 500 characters and can include links, photos and videos up to five minutes long.

What are Threads’ community guidelines?

Instagram’s Community Guidelines apply, which ban nudity, spam and any support of terrorism, organized crime or hate groups. They do not allow buying or selling of firearms, alcohol and tobacco products or drugs between private individuals. The guidelines generally call for the removal of content targeting, degrading or shaming private individuals, hate speech and any glorification of self-injury.

Threads users can restrict or block any account by tapping the three-dot-menu and profiles already blocked on Instagram will carry over to Threads. Like on Instagram, users can filter out specific words so that any replies including those words will not appear at all.

What’s Threads’ privacy policy?

Profiles can be public or private, but know that some information is always visible to anyone. This information includes username, name, profile picture and bio. But anyone under age 16 will have their profile set to private by default, although they can choose to change it.

A private profile means you must approve a follow request from someone before they can see your content. Only followers will be able to repost your content or see who you follow and who follows your account. Private profiles will not show up in the recommended accounts for other people to follow.

But before you download and log in to Threads, you should be aware of some details in the Threads supplemental privacy policy. It states that “You may deactivate your Threads profile at any time, but your Threads profile can only be deleted by deleting your Instagram account.” 

That’s right. Once you’ve created a Threads profile, there’s no going back without deleting your Instagram account as well. Not only that, but your Instagram account and Threads account are so tied together that you will not be able to change your Threads username without changing your Instagram username. Threads is not a standalone app. It is part of the Instagram platform. 

Final thoughts on Threads

There aren’t yet any ads on Threads, which is nice, but I’m sure they’re coming. Right now, the most frustrating thing about the app for me is that my feed is filled with posts from recommended accounts. There’s no way to get around that right now. 

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As far as Threads converting Twitter users, time will tell. I currently use Twitter like a breaking news search engine. When I want the most recent (and often eyewitness) details of notable events happening anywhere in the world, I search Twitter. Threads doesn’t have the option to search for words or hashtags, only accounts.

And as someone who looks favorably on brevity when it comes to expressing opinion or reporting the news, the nearly double character count allowed on Threads versus Twitter may be a deterrent instead of a positive for me. I also use Twitter as a way to reach out privately to sources and Threads doesn’t currently have in-app messaging. 

But since Elon Musk took over Twitter, I lost my blue verification check and have gotten a bit of whiplash with all the changes he has made over the past nine months. I will give Threads a try and will keep the profile for life, I guess, since I don’t want to ever give up my Instagram account.