Meta, Facebook's Parent Company, to Compete with Twitter through Threads
A significant development is taking place in the social media market as Meta, the parent company of Facebook, plans to launch Threads, a direct competitor to Twitter. This move may not sit well with Twitter's owner, Elon Musk.
Elon Musk's Twitter account is about to meet its potentially most formidable challenger: Threads, the highly anticipated Twitter competitor from Meta, is set to launch in a few days. The app named Threads has been listed in the app stores for iPhones and Android smartphones since Monday, and users will be able to download it in the coming days. The description of Threads states that it is "the place to come together and discuss everything from topics that interest you to tomorrow's trends."
Threads is expected to have interfaces with other applications, as Meta aims to create an interoperable social network. This concept deviates from the traditional approach of major online corporations that focus on closed environments with their own usage rules.
This interoperability sets Threads apart from Twitter. In December, Twitter CEO Elon Musk made it clear that he does not believe in integrating interfaces with other platforms, even temporarily suspending accounts that shared links to other networks like Facebook, Instagram, or Mastodon.
While Twitter, with Musk as its struggling owner, is facing new challenges and is attempting to convert users of its Tweetdeck app to paying subscribers, Meta's Threads is gaining momentum. Tweetdeck, predominantly used by professional Twitter users such as journalists, will introduce a new version that will become a paid service after 30 days, as announced by Twitter on Monday.
Among several smaller Twitter competitors, Mark Zuckerberg's Meta stands as the strongest rival. Unlike Twitter, Meta has excelled at operating large online platforms and does not face financial difficulties.
Moreover, Threads has the advantage of being linked to Meta's popular photo and video app, Instagram, benefiting from an existing user base of over one billion interconnected users. In contrast, other Twitter rivals like Mastodon, Bluesky, and T2 would need to establish new user networks that have taken years to develop.
This sets the stage for a potential business duel between Musk and Zuckerberg, as the two tech billionaires had already agreed to a staged fight in the ring in June. According to the New York Times, preparations for such a fight are underway, although it remains uncertain whether it will actually take place. Zuckerberg, at 39 years old, is currently training with martial arts trainers and appears visibly fitter than the 52-year-old Musk.
Meta has frequently copied services and features from its competitors, but the results have been mixed. The adoption of Snapchat's invented stories format, where users can share images and videos with friends for a day, has been overwhelmingly successful. Similarly, Instagram and Facebook's imitation of the popular app TikTok through "Reels" has gained traction. However, despite numerous attempts, Meta has yet to establish a competitor to Snapchat's self-deleting videos.
In an unprecedented move, Musk recently imposed restrictions on the display of tweets on Twitter. Paying subscribers will now be able to read up to 10,000 tweets per day, while non-subscribers will be limited to 1,000 posts. Musk explained that this step was taken due to numerous attempts to access large amounts of data from Twitter.
Problems with Tweetdeck
Following the announcement, problems arose with Tweetdeck, where the display of lists was disrupted, among other issues. Tweetdeck was the only way to view tweets without ads and with automatic updates. Speculation about the possibility of the power-user software becoming a paid service has been ongoing for years, even before Elon Musk's multi-billion-dollar acquisition in the fall of 2022.
According to software developers cited by tech blog "The Verge," the recent issues with Tweetdeck can be attributed to Twitter cutting off interfaces that the program relied on to access the platform.
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Furthermore, Musk's tenure at Twitter has seen several other changes that have been met with disapproval from users. He made the blue verification checkmarks a paid feature, laid off numerous employees, and allowed the platform to become a breeding ground for the spread of partially false news and hate speech. Even Donald Trump's account was reactivated.