Meta Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced the launch of Threads, an app that enables users to share text updates and participate in public discussions, presenting a direct competition to Elon Musk-owned micro-blogging platform Twitter. Originally scheduled for a July 6 release at 7:30 pm in India, the text-based conversation application surprised users by launching earlier today. It is now available in over 100 countries for both iOS and Android platforms, and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
“Glad you’re all here on day one. Let’s build something great together!” Zuckerberg wrote in a thread. “The vision for Threads is to create an open and friendly public space for conversation. We hope to take what Instagram does best and create a new experience around text, ideas, and discussing what’s on your mind.”
Similar to Instagram, Threads allows users to connect and follow friends as well as creators. This includes individuals they already follow on Instagram. It enables users to log in using their existing Instagram account, transferring their Instagram username and verification while providing the option to personalize their Threads profile. For users under 16 years of age (or under 18 in specific countries), a private profile will be the default setting upon joining Threads. In addition, Meta said it will enforce Instagram’s Community Guidelines on content and interactions in the new app.
The text-based conversation app curates a user’s feed with posts from followed accounts and recommended content from new creators. Each post can contain up to 500 characters along with links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes long. Users can post their threads as an Instagram story or share on any other platform.
“We’re committed to building support for ActivityPub, the protocol behind Mastodon, into this app. We weren’t able to finish it for launch, given a number of complications that come along with a decentralized network, but it’s coming,” Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, said in a thread.
Threads’ launch comes a few days after Musk announced temporary limits on Twitter accounts to “address extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation”. These measures enforce specific daily reading limits: verified accounts are restricted to 6,000 posts, unverified accounts are limited to 600 posts, and new unverified accounts face a cap of 300 posts per day.
“It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this, but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully, we will,” Zuckerberg said in response to a user’s question about the potential of Threads surpassing Twitter.
The launch of Threads introduces a new contender in the social media space, intensifying the competition among platforms vying for user engagement and conversation. As the app gains traction, its features and user response will determine its trajectory in the highly competitive market.