Jul 6, 2023 - Economy & Business

Threads v. Twitter: What to know about Meta's new social media service

Illustration of the twitter and threads phone icons with boxing glove icons

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It looks like Twitter, feels like Twitter and works a lot like Twitter — and that's exactly the point of Meta's new app.

Why it matters: 30 million people had signed up for Threads as of this morning, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the new social media service.

  • "Feels like the beginning of something special, but we've got a lot of work ahead to build out the app," he added.

The impact: "Meta only needs 1 in 4 Instagram users to use Threads monthly for it to be as big as Twitter," according to Insider Intelligence principal analyst Jasmine Enberg.

  • "And Meta has the scale, resources, and execution strategy to make that happen. The simplicity of the onboarding process, the app’s easy-to-use interface, and Meta’s promise of a saner, kinder place than Twitter have already supercharged signups."

Zoom in: Here's what to expect if you join:

  • It's completely free, whereas Twitter now offers a basic version for free and a paid option with more features.
  • Much like Twitter, you can tag other people using the @ symbol, post text updates and upload photos and videos.
  • You get more characters — up to 500 to be exact — compared with Twitter's 280 for non-paying customers.
  • The aesthetic is similar: "Threads looks nearly identical to Twitter in many ways," the NYT observes.

Between the lines: You need an Instagram account to have a Threads account — and your Threads handle will be your Instagram handle.

  • Your Instagram can be private, but your Threads can be public.
  • Unlike Twitter, which recently began limiting non-paying users to viewing 1,000 tweets a day, you don't have to pay to keep scrolling: "Threads imposes no limit or boundaries, whether you’re verified or not," WSJ reports.

Yes, but: There are some obvious limitations from the start.

  • Threads has no search capability for content and does not have a direct-messaging feature, which is peculiar because messaging is so integral to Meta's Faceb0ok, WhatsApp and Instagram.
  • Also for now "you can’t see a feed of just the people you follow or a purely chronological feed," WSJ reports.

Between the lines: Meta's launch builds on Instagram's massive installed base, giving it a big head start in the derby to offer alternatives to Twitter users disenchanted by Musk's management, Axios Login co-author Ryan Heath writes.

  • Threads also offers the advertisers the ability to target Facebook, Instagram and Threads users under one roof.
  • "Although there are no ads on the platform just yet," CNN notes.

The bottom line: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in this case it's intended to eat away at Twitter's user base.

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