Meta, the parent company of Instagram, has unveiled its highly anticipated Twitter competitor called Threads. The platform, which has been the subject of months of rumors and leaks, finally sees the light of day after a sensational billionaire cage fight challenge between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. The app can now be accessed via its desktop site at Threads.net or by downloading the app for iOS and Android. Users experiencing issues on iOS are advised to force quit the App Store and try again.
Threads launched by Meta
In an interview with The Verge’s Alex Heath, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, discussed the motivation behind the launch. Mosseri acknowledged Twitter’s pioneering efforts in the space, but noted the opportunity to create an open and community-centric platform for Instagram’s existing user base.
Threads offers users the ability to create text-based posts with a maximum of 500 characters, as well as share photos and videos up to five minutes in length. The app’s interface bears similarities to Twitter, boasting a minimalist design and providing options to like, comment, repost, and share threads. Since Threads is closely integrated with Instagram, users can conveniently log in with their Instagram username and effortlessly follow the same individuals they already follow on the popular photo-sharing platform.
The main feed on Threads encompasses both recommended content and posts from followed accounts. Unlike Twitter, there appears to be no option to toggle between recommended and following-only content streams, though Meta may consider adding this feature in the future.
In a bid to prioritize user privacy, Meta has incorporated some of Instagram’s privacy controls. These include the ability to filter out specific words in replies and the option to limit thread replies to everyone, followed accounts, or only mentioned users.
Notably, Threads does not support ActivityPub, the decentralized social networking protocol utilized by platforms like Mastodon. This protocol enables the transfer of information from one host to another. However, Meta emphasizes its belief in a decentralized approach and the significance of open social networking protocols akin to those governing email and the web. The app serves as Meta’s first app designed to be compatible with such a protocol, with the hope of enabling users to find their communities across various apps within the rapidly growing ecosystem of interoperable services.
Threads arrives as Twitter implements more restrictions, including a temporary rate limit that prevents unverified users from viewing over 600 posts per day (or 300 for “new unverified” accounts). Additionally, Twitter initially blocked logged-out users from accessing tweets, but later reversed the decision. The platform has also introduced a new version of TweetDeck, which requires a verified subscription.
Meta has rolled out Threads in more than 100 countries, including the United States. However, it will not be available in the European Union initially, with plans for potential expansion in the future.