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Meta's 'Threads' Debuts: Aiming to Outdo Twitter with New Features and Global Expansion

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Meta, Facebook and Instagram's parent company, has unveiled a new text-oriented platform named Threads on Thursday, setting it up in direct competition with Twitter, currently managed by Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX.

Threads, according to Meta's chief product officer, is the company's answer to Twitter, a sentiment reiterated by Meta's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who is bullish about the new platform's potential growth and rivalry with Twitter. In response to a query about Threads' potential to outgrow Twitter, Zuckerberg expressed his ambition to create a public conversations platform with over a billion users. While acknowledging that it would take time, he voiced his optimism and noted Twitter's missed opportunity to achieve this feat.

Users can set up a Threads account via a mobile app available for both iOS and Android devices. Threads currently doesn't support a web interface, but Instagram's chief, Adam Mosseri, has confirmed that the company is developing a web version.

Threads allows users to log in using their existing Instagram account and customize their profile settings specifically for Threads. Furthermore, users can adjust their username and privacy settings independently from their Instagram account.

Threads' posts can be up to 500 characters long, providing more room than Twitter's 280-character limit, and can encompass links, photos, and videos up to five minutes in length. Users can interact with posts by liking, responding, or re-sharing them. Moreover, users can view a blend of Threads posted by their followers and suggested content in their feeds.

Threads experienced an explosion of popularity soon after its launch, with 30 million users signing up within the first day, according to Zuckerberg. Prominent news outlets such as CNN, The Associated Press, NBC News, and The Hill have already begun posting on the platform.

However, Threads' global expansion will initially be restricted, with its launch in the European Union delayed due to privacy concerns. Mosseri attributed this to the challenges of compliance with new regulations that are expected to take effect next year.

As Threads continues to gain popularity, new features will be rolled out. Some teased updates include improved search functionality, including hashtag search, and a personalized feed displaying posts solely from followed accounts. Despite the lack of a direct messaging feature currently, it remains unclear whether this will be implemented in the future.

Threads is the most recent addition to a list of text-based apps introduced as alternatives to Twitter, particularly after Musk's takeover and comprehensive changes to the platform last October. This new platform also comes as Meta is attempting to retain its user base in the face of the rising popularity of the video-sharing app, TikTok.


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