Over ten million people eagerly signed up for Threads App, Meta’s new rival to Twitter, within just a few hours of its launch, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The app became available on Apple and Android app stores in 100 countries on Wednesday at 2300 GMT. For now, it will operate without any advertisements, but its release in Europe has been postponed due to concerns about data privacy.
It poses the biggest challenge yet to Elon Musk’s Twitter, despite several potential competitors emerging. Twitter remains one of the largest social media platforms globally, despite its struggles. “10 million sign-ups in seven hours,” stated Zuckerberg on his official Threads account on Thursday.
Celebrity accounts were already active on Threads App, including those of Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and Hugh Jackman, as well as media outlets like The Washington Post and The Economist.
Taking a jab at Musk, Zuckerberg expressed their rivalry, even going so far as to suggest a cage fight. In his first tweet in over a decade, Zuckerberg shared a Spiderman meme, symbolizing the similarities between Threads and Twitter.
On Threads App, Zuckerberg shared his vision: “It’ll take time, but I believe we can create a public conversations app with over one billion users. Twitter had the chance to achieve this but missed the mark. Hopefully, we will succeed.”
Twitter currently boasts more than 200 million daily users.
Threads App is a clear spin-off of Instagram, benefiting from its existing user base of over two billion people and sparing the new platform from starting from scratch. Instagram’s chief, Adam Mosseri, emphasized that Threads App aims to be “an open and friendly platform for conversations” and encouraged users to be kind.
Zuckerberg seems to be capitalizing on Musk’s tumultuous ownership of Twitter to introduce this new product. Meta hopes Threads App will become the go-to platform for celebrities, companies, and politicians. Brian Wieser, a strategic financial analyst, explained that if influential Instagram users like Kardashian, Bieber, or Messi consistently post on Threads, the new platform could quickly flourish. Jasmine Engberg, an analyst from Insider Intelligence, noted that Threads only needs a quarter of Instagram’s monthly users to rival Twitter.
Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter has faced criticism for minimal content moderation, glitches, and impulsive decisions that have driven away celebrities and major advertisers. Angering Twitter enthusiasts further, Musk restricted access to TweetDeck, limiting it to paying customers only.
Meta also faces critics, particularly in Europe, which may impede Threads’ growth. Meta has faced scrutiny for its handling of personal data, which plays a crucial role in targeted advertising and generates billions of dollars in profits. While Mosseri expressed regret over the delayed European launch, he explained that waiting for regulatory clarity from Brussels would have postponed Threads by many months.
One concern revolves around the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a new law that imposes strict regulations on major internet companies. One rule prohibits the transfer of user data between platforms, potentially affecting Threads and Instagram. Meta previously violated this rule when it acquired WhatsApp, leading European regulators to be vigilant about preventing any illegal data transfers with Threads.
Globally, the Threads hashtag on Twitter has already accumulated over a million tweets, with some users jokingly suggesting a return to Musk’s platform. Others expressed privacy concerns, citing Meta’s data collection practices and their distrust for how private information is handled. Additionally, some users were hesitant to embrace Threads due to Meta’s unfavorable reputation in the EU.
Nonetheless, there were individuals who pledged their permanent loyalty to Threads App, bidding farewell to Twitter.