Meta Launches Instagram Threads, its Twitter Killer

Threads, an Instagram app

Threads, an Instagram App is available now. Meta’s much-anticipated Twitter competitor aims to capitalize on Twitter’s recent woes following Elon Musk’s takeover last year and offering users a new text-based social network platform free from all the drama.

Threads looks very similar to its appearance in leaks. As expected, the app uses existing Instagram account information. Further, as evidenced by the branding, “Threads, an Instagram App,” the new social media app is an extension of the Instagram platform.

While Threads is a standalone app, it will leverage Instagram account integration to allow Threads users to quickly find and follow accounts they follow on Instagram. It also uses the same login information.

Threads, an Instagram app

Once inside Threads, the app looks a lot like Twitter. The app includes a feed — again, much like Twitter — which shows the posts and threads that users have published. Threads includes interactions including buttons for likes, comments, reposts, and sharing options. The user interface comprises collapsible threads to keep the feed clutter-free.

“Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow. Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things — or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions, and creativity with the world,” Meta writes on the App Store.

As The Verge reports, Threads will include Fediverse integration, although that feature is not expected at launch. Through this integration, Threads will allow users to bring accounts and followers from apps that support ActivityPub, the decentralized social media protocol. This includes Mastodon, a popular Twitter alternative that has failed to garner widespread support due to its decentralized nature — a downside that is also the app’s most distinctive feature.

At the time of publication, it does not appear as though Threads has a fully functional browser-based version of the platform.

Instagram Takes Aim at Twitter

In an internal meeting attended by The Verge, Meta chief product officer Chris Cox called Threads Meta’s “response to Twitter.” Cox added, “We’ve been hearing from creators and public figures who are interested in having a platform that is sanely run, that they believe that they can trust and rely upon for distribution,” which seems to be a direct critique of Elon Musk’s handling of Twitter since he purchased the social media company.

During the meeting, Cox emphasized that Meta’s goal for Threads is to deliver an app that is safe, easy to use, and reliable. He also wants Threads to be a stable place where content creators can grow their audiences. Meta has already enlisted some big names to use the app, including Oprah and the Dalai Lama.

When Threads prematurely launched on the web earlier today, the app included posts from some big names, including Mark Zuckerberg, Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri, MKBHD, iJustine, Netflix, and more, according to The Verge.

Threads, an Instagram app

Threads’ launch could not come at a better time, with Twitter currently facing heavy scrutiny for how the platform has been limiting Tweet viewing.

New Threads: An Old Name for a New App

Interestingly, the new Threads app is not Instagram’s first app to use that name. In 2019, Instagram expanded its family of apps with Threads from Instagram, a “camera-first messaging app” aimed at taking on Snapchat. In fact, the header image of this story uses a graphic Instagram originally created to advertise that first version of Threads.

The original Threads app built upon Instagram’s “Close Friends” feature, allowing Instagram users to communicate in a more intimate, private setting with a select network of connections. The app allowed users to share photos, videos, and even text statuses, with a curated list of friends. After numerous updates, the app expanded its scope to include users outside someone’s Close Friends.

However, Instagram’s “Snapchat killer” did not live up to its billing, and Instagram quietly shuttered the app in late 2021.

Rising from “Threads from Instagram’s” ashes is “Threads, an Instagram app,” which despite its very similar name, has set its crosshairs on a different popular social media app, Twitter. Will the second time be the charm?

Threads and Photography

It remains to be seen how Threads will cater to photography and image-sharing at large. While Instagram has long been a popular platform for content creators, including visual artists, so too has Twitter.

Twitter has also been popular among the NSFW crowd, which is far from a small cadre of users. Instagram’s content safety and privacy rules are relatively strict, so Threads may not win over all of Twitter’s audience.

However, assuming that Threads capitalizes on its extensive existing user base from Instagram and Facebook and the recent displeasure many Twitter users have voiced about the blue bird app, Threads is poised to become a popular home for many photographers and content creators.

Pricing and Availability

Threads is available now for free in select markets, including the United States and the United Kingdom. There appear to be no in-app purchases for Threads, another counter to Musk’s handling of Twitter, where the embattled billionaire has introduced a premium Twitter Blue service and increased API prices, much to the dismay of Twitter users.

More stringent data privacy laws in the European Union have created hurdles for Threads, as The Irish Independent reports.

“Meta will not launch its new Twitter rival, Threads, in Ireland or the EU for the foreseeable future…A spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) said that the regulator had been in contact about the new service and that it would not be rolled out in the EU ‘at this point,'” writes Adrian Weckler.

Be sure to follow PetaPixel on Threads here.

Image credits: Meta