Meta (META)’s Threads, a text-based social media app poised to compete against Twitter, has attracted as much hype as scorn within two days of launch. Its latest critic is Jack Dorsey, the founder and former CEO of Twitter.
In a tweet yesterday (July 6), Dorsey bemoaned, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got seven Twitter clones,” referring to recently launched apps like Mastodon, Not Boring, and Spill.
Dorsey was responding to an image tweeted by Andy Allen, the founder of the Not Boring app. Allen posted a collage of five different social apps placed side by side and intended to show how similar their user interfaces are.
“Gotta say, it feels like we missed an opportunity to reinvent social. Can you tell them apart?” Allen wrote in the image caption. The five apps featured in his collage were Threads, Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky and Not Boring.
“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 7 Twitter clones.” https://t.co/MavyysZCcP
— jack (@jack) July 6, 2023
In the comment section, a user was quick to point out the irony that Dorsey played a role in creating two of the “Twitter clones” he lamented, referring to Bluesky and Nostr. Bluesky, launched in 2021, and Nostr, launched in January, are both based on decentralized networks that are supposedly resistant to censorship.
Dorsey responded to the user that “Bluesky and Nostr are protocols that Twitter can build upon,” adding that they “would remove some constraints and burden” of centralized apps like Twitter and are “not competitive.”
Twitter’s owner, Elon Musk, replied to Dorsey’s “Twitter clone” post with a laughing emoji yesterday. Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg have been engaged in a weeks-long spat over the launch of Threads. The pair even agreed to a cage fight in Las Vegas to settle the matter.
Meta officially launched Threads on July 5 as part of its Instagram app and instantly attracted millions of users. At press time, Threads has gained more than 72 million users, according to Quiver Quantitative, a third-party tracker. In comparison, Twitter had approximately 450 million monthly active users as of late 2022.
Musk has threatened to sue Meta for infringing on Twitter’s intellectual property. Yesterday, Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, sent Zuckerberg a cease-and-desist letter, accusing Meta of stealing Twitter’s trade secrets and hiring former Twitter employees who had access to highly confidential information. The letter was first reported by tech news site Semafor.
Meta denied the allegations and said none of Threads’ engineering team consists of former Twitter employees. “That’s just not a thing,” Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement yesterday.