In a move to compete with Twitter, Meta, the parent company of Instagram, has released Threads, a standalone app designed for public conversations. Threads aims to provide an open and community-driven platform, taking advantage of Twitter’s perceived “volatility” and “unpredictability” under the leadership of Elon Musk. While acknowledging the challenge of unseating Twitter, Meta is banking on the strong and vibrant community on Instagram to support the success of Threads.

Threads: A Risky Endeavor with a Familiar Structure

Threads bears a striking resemblance to Twitter in its key features. The app’s main feed, referred to as “threads” by Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, displays posts from followed accounts, along with recommended content based on Instagram’s algorithm. Users can repost with their own commentary, and replies are prominently featured. However, unlike Twitter, there is currently no feed dedicated to accounts users follow exclusively.

Key Features and Differences

Posts on Threads can contain up to 500 characters, including photos and videos of up to five minutes in length. Notably, Threads does not feature advertisements at launch, and there is no paid verification scheme. However, Instagram’s blue checkmarks will carry over to Threads accounts. Additionally, moderation actions taken against a Threads account will not impact the associated Instagram account, except in extreme cases such as sharing child exploitation imagery.

Integration with Instagram and Future Plans

Threads benefits from its deep integration with Instagram, allowing users to seamlessly share posts from Threads to their Instagram story or feed. Furthermore, users can share links to Threads posts on other apps, facilitating the app’s growth from its initial launch. Meta plans to eventually integrate Threads with ActivityPub, a decentralized social media protocol that powers Mastodon, enabling interaction between Threads and Mastodon users.

The Risk and Long-term Commitment

Acknowledging the risks inherent in launching a new app, Adam Mosseri describes Threads as a risky endeavor. However, Meta is committed to giving the app a genuine opportunity to succeed and adapt by offering a distinct user experience for public conversations. Despite the intention to avoid directly competing with Twitter, Meta recognizes the need to evolve and stay culturally relevant in an ever-changing social media landscape.

European Union Exclusion

While Threads is initially available in 100 countries, including the United States, it is notably absent from the European Union. This exclusion is due to the complexities of complying with upcoming laws, such as the Digital Markets Act, which imposes new obligations on “gatekeeper” platforms like Meta. The company aims to address these complexities and eventually bring Threads to the European market.

The Future of Threads and Meta’s Vision

Adam Mosseri emphasizes that success for Threads is not solely defined by overtaking Twitter or reaching the scale of Instagram. Instead, Meta seeks to make Threads culturally relevant and foster a vibrant community of creators. By focusing on public conversations and offering an alternative platform, Threads aims to provide a space where creators feel empowered and have more control over their audience.

Meta’s Vision for Threads

Meta’s release of Threads marks its entry into the competitive field of public conversation platforms. Threads’ resemblance to Twitter, coupled with its ties to Instagram, positions it as a potential contender. While the challenges of unseating a well-established platform like Twitter are significant, Meta remains optimistic about Threads’ prospects. As the app evolves and adapts, Meta aims to create a compelling space for creators and foster a culturally relevant community in the realm of public conversations.