Meta Launches Threads, a Text-Based App Challenging Twitter

news 11-Jul-2023 Technology

Meta Launches Threads, a Text-Based App Challenging Twitter

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, unveiled its latest app on Wednesday called Threads, directly challenging Twitter in the social media space. The new offering is positioned as a text-based version of Meta's popular photo-sharing app, Instagram. Threads aims to provide users with a separate space for real-time updates and public conversations in response to the frequent changes made by Twitter's owner, Elon Musk.

Threads is now available in Apple and Google Android app stores in over 100 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan. Based on screenshots provided to the media, the app appears to offer a microblogging experience similar to Twitter, with features such as liking, reposting, replying, and quoting posts. It aims to create a dialogue-focused platform, drawing inspiration from Instagram's success in the photo and video space.

While posts on Threads are limited to 500 characters, surpassing Twitter's 280-character limit, users can include links, photos, and videos up to five minutes long. Existing Instagram users can log in to Threads using their current usernames and follow the same accounts as on Instagram. However, new users will need to set up an Instagram account to access Threads.

Meta has placed great emphasis on user safety and privacy. The company plans to enforce Instagram's community guidelines on Threads and provide tools for users to control who can mention or reply to their posts. However, concerns have been raised over Threads' data privacy practices. The app's data privacy disclosure on the App Store reveals its potential collection of personal information ranging from health and financial data to browsing and search history, location data, purchases, and sensitive information.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey took a jab at Threads, pointing out the data privacy concerns in a snarky tweet that included a screenshot of the disclosure. Elon Musk responded with a casual agreement. As a result of its data privacy implications, Threads will not be rolled out in the European Union, where strict data privacy rules are in place. Meta has indicated to Ireland's Data Privacy Commission, its main privacy regulator in the EU, that it has no immediate plans for a European launch due to regulatory uncertainty.

Analysts have expressed reservations about the success of Threads, considering Meta's history of launching standalone apps that were later shut down. Additionally, Meta's focus on the metaverse and significant investments in virtual reality add to the uncertainty surrounding the app's future. Some experts argue that Meta may be spreading itself too thin, especially with numerous Twitter alternatives already competing for market share, including Bluesky, Mastodon, Spill, Post.News, and Hive.

Threads could potentially create a fresh challenge for Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter for $44 billion last year. Musk has faced backlash for implementing various changes on the platform, including daily limits on tweet views and paid verification for access to TweetDeck. The rivalry between Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg may even extend into real-life events, as the tech billionaires have toyed with the idea of a cage match face-off, although it remains uncertain whether this will materialize.

As the battle for users and engagement in the social media landscape intensifies, only time will tell whether Threads manages to gain traction and establish itself as a noteworthy competitor to Twitter, or if it will fade away like many of Meta's previous app ventures.

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