Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has hinted at the upcoming launch of a new application called Threads. This app is poised to directly compete with Twitter in facilitating real-time digital conversations.
Despite Twitter’s steadfast position as the go-to platform for public online conversations, Mark Zuckerberg has persistently sought to challenge its dominance. Undeterred by Twitter’s unrivaled status, his company, Meta, which encompasses Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, recently teased the launch of a new application specifically targeting Twitter’s domain.
On Thursday, the app Threads, which is connected to Instagram, made its appearance in the Apple’s App Store, allowing users to sign up for download before its official release. The functionality of the app seems to resemble Twitter, with a focus on public conversations, enabling users to follow individuals they already connect with on Instagram. Some experts in the tech industry have even dubbed this upcoming app as a potential “Twitter killer.”
Zuckerberg’s Calculated Introduction of Threads
Mark Zuckerberg‘s timing is strategic, as Twitter finds itself in a state of recent turmoil. Following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social platform last year, significant changes have been implemented, including modifications to Twitter’s algorithm that determines post visibility, the relaxation of content moderation rules regarding certain tweet types, and a complete overhaul of the user verification process to confirm identities.
During the weekend, Elon Musk introduced restrictions on the number of tweets users could access on the Twitter app. This action was a response to concerns about data extraction from Twitter through a method known as “scraping.” As a result, Twitter users started encountering notifications indicating that they had reached their “rate limit,” rendering the app virtually unusable after a brief period of browsing posts. Consequently, numerous Twitter users expressed their frustration with this development.
Lou Paskalis, founder and CEO of AJL Advisory, a marketing and advertising technology strategy firm, expressed his view on Elon Musk and Twitter, stating, “If there has ever been an owner of a multi-billion dollar enterprise who is more self-destructive and holds resentment towards the very customers who are crucial for the success of that enterprise, I am not aware of them.” This criticism of Musk and Twitter highlights the sentiments within the industry.
The recent disruptions and challenges faced by Twitter seem to have provided Mark Zuckerberg with an opportunity to introduce Threads. This ongoing turbulence has created an opening for Zuckerberg to potentially make strides in the market.
Meta’s Rapid Project to Compete with Twitter’s Territory
Meta’s leadership team has been actively exploring ways to leverage the turmoil surrounding Twitter for quite some time. This has included considerations for developing a competing service. As reported by The New York Times in December, an internal post by a Meta employee expressed the sentiment, “Twitter is in crisis and Meta needs its mojo back. LET’S GO FOR THEIR BREAD AND BUTTER.”
As a result of these discussions, Threads emerged as a rapid project originating from Instagram and internally referred to as Project 92. The app will allow users to sign in using their Instagram accounts, as seen in the photo previews available on Apple’s App Store.
Meta executives previously characterized the app as a “sanely run” version of a public social network. As of now, there has been no immediate response from Mr. Musk or Twitter regarding this matter. However, Threads quickly garnered attention online, with Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter’s founders, sharing a screenshot of the app’s data policy, to which Mr. Musk responded with a simple “Yeah.”
There was no immediate response from a Meta spokeswoman regarding the request for comment. Despite its own challenges, Meta is introducing Threads. The Silicon Valley company has been making significant investments in transitioning towards the metaverse, an immersive digital realm. However, this move has been met with skepticism, as the metaverse is still a long way from becoming widely adopted in mainstream society.
In recent months, Mr. Zuckerberg has taken measures to reduce costs at Meta and has faced concerns about whether the company is falling behind in the artificial intelligence race. During an employee meeting last month, he sought to motivate the workforce by providing context for the significant layoffs that occurred last year and presenting a vision for integrating Meta’s AI initiatives with its metaverse plans.
A Formidable Rival to Twitter with Three Billion Users
Despite these challenges, Meta remains the most formidable contender to Twitter, boasting substantial resources and a user base exceeding three billion people across Facebook, Instagram, and other Meta-owned applications. Other platforms attempting to capitalize on Twitter’s vulnerabilities, such as Tumblr, Nostr, Spill, Mastodon, and Bluesky, are all considerably smaller in scale compared to Meta.
“Despite Facebook’s decline, it still possesses an extensive user base,” stated Mr. Paskalis of AJL Advisory. He further explained that this large user base increases the likelihood of Facebook’s imitative applications succeeding at the expense of Twitter.
Facebook and Twitter have long been rivals in their pursuit to capture real-time conversations on the internet. During Twitter’s nascent stage, Mr. Zuckerberg expressed interest in acquiring the company but was met with resistance. Additionally, prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook made significant efforts to highlight its live products and trending topics in political events and on television.
Subsequently, Mr. Zuckerberg directed his efforts towards initiatives like live streaming video, a realm that Twitter has also pursued, as well as promoting trending hashtags to enable users to explore viral topics across Facebook and Instagram.
Interestingly, Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Musk might find themselves in a different kind of competition: inside the ring.
According to Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship sports franchise, the two individuals are engaged in discussions regarding the possibility of participating in a mixed martial arts match. While no specific date has been determined, both tech billionaires have privately expressed their willingness to engage in a fight, and plans for such an event are beginning to take shape.