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Are you on Threads? Meta’s hoped-for Twitter killer explodes to 70M users

Meta aims to convert its 1 billion regular Instagram users to Threads devotees. But even if it only snags 1 of 4, it can surpass Twitter

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This photo, taken in New York on July 6, 2023, shows Meta’s new app Threads. Meta unveiled the app to rival Twitter.

This photo, taken in New York on Thursday, July 6, 2023, shows Meta’s new app Threads. Meta unveiled the app to rival Twitter, targeting users looking for an alternative to the social media platform owned — and frequently changed — by Elon Musk.

Richard Drew, Associated Press

Thanks in large part to built-in integration with its popular Instagram image sharing app, Facebook founder and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg had some big numbers to share just one day after launching Threads, a short message social media platform that has Twitter squarely in its sights.

Zuckerberg dropped in on his newest creation Friday morning to report that Threads had snagged some 70 million sign-ups since launching Wednesday evening and was drawing interest “way beyond our expectations.”

The Verge reports that, as of Thursday afternoon, users had already posted more than 95 million posts and 190 million likes, based on internal company data it had viewed.

Since taking over Twitter in a $44 billion deal last October, Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has roiled the platform’s 230 million or so regular users with ad hoc policy changes, serial technical issues, a Blue Check verification system that’s regressed to a basic subscription model and, just last weekend, new limitations on user activity aiming to quell, according to Musk, the harvesting of data by artificial intelligence systems.

In what may turn out to be a stroke of genius, Zuckerberg and his team launched Threads as an add-on to Instagram, requiring users to first sign up for Instagram before getting access to Threads, which is currently only available as a smartphone app.

Meta’s Instagram has 1 billion active monthly users and, per CNBC, users can sign up for Threads with their existing handles on Instagram and are able to retain some of their following as others sign up for the app.

“Meta only needs 1 in 4 Instagram users to use Threads monthly for it to be as big as Twitter,” Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, said in a statement to CNBC. Twitter reported nearly 238 million monetizable daily active users in its last quarterly earnings report as a public company last summer.

Wall Street Journal personal technology columnist Joanna Sterns offered a breakdown on how the two platforms compare noting the Instagram integration eases both entry and connecting with friends to follow and doesn’t come with Twitter’s pesky new viewing limitations. She also pointed to a slew of Twitter functions that simply aren’t now, or aren’t yet, part of the Threads platform. Those include limited search functionality, no direct messaging and an algorithmic follower feed that isn’t timeline based and doesn’t allow for following individuals in stand-alone threads. But, on that note, on Friday, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, told The Wall Street Journal that Threads will have a chronological feed in the future.

A Twitter vs. Threads features assessment by Geekflare noted Threads doesn’t currently include the ability to identify trending topics/conversations, like Twitter but does allow messages up to 500 characters, eclipsing Twitter’s 280 limit.

When it comes to the user interface experience, Geekflare’s side-by-side comparison noted both platforms are clean and display exactly what you want to see, but “one could argue the interface of Threads is much more refreshing and interesting.”

And, almost every early accounting of the Threads experience has highlighted a feature that may be its biggest downside. Once you’ve added Threads to your Instagram account, you can’t delete the new messaging platform without axing your Insta account, too.