Meta (META)’s text-based social media app is expected to launch tomorrow (July 6), according to its listing on the Apple App Store. The platform allows users to post text and image updates to followers, as well as comment, like and share posts. It functions similarly to Twitter and is expected to rival the app.
“I think that Threads is the first real, credible threat to Elon Musk’s Twitter,” Matt Navarra, social media consultant and analyst, told PA Media, a U.K.-based news agency. “Users of Twitter are desperately looking for an exit from the platform to escape, and the existing options of rivals are fairly limited.”
Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase, which completed in October, created a space for rivals to emerge. Advertisers have slowed their spending on the app to see what direction the platform will take. Twitter’s advertising revenue is down as much as 59 percent year-over-year, the New York Times reported. Musk has also angered some users with strategy decisions, including charging $8 per month for the app’s verification checkmark. He hired advertising executives from NBCUniversal to lead his company, including Linda Yaccarino as CEO.
Mastodon, a decentralized platform with no advertisements, surfaced as a competitor, growing from 380,000 monthly active users to 2.5 million in the months following Musk’s purchase. But its numbers are still a far cry from Twitter’s 368 million monthly active users, and Mastodon’s user count dipped earlier this year, Wired reported. Bluesky, an app created by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has also gained traction in recent months. It is unclear how many users are active and how long the waitlist is, but more than 375,000 people have downloaded Bluesky on Apple’s App Store, NBC reported.
Meta has been quick to replicate its competitors’ products, including Stories, which came from Snapchat, and Reels, which came from TikTok. But this product, which Meta calls Threads, is the first to challenge Twitter head-on. Unlike Mastodon and Bluesky, Meta has the existing user base and relationship with customers to threaten Twitter’s business. Facebook, a Meta product, has 2.99 billion monthly active users, according to Meta’s earnings report.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg “has got the necessary infrastructure, the connected users and the balance sheet to be able to launch a competitive product,” Alex Pollak, chief investment officer at fund management firm Loftus Peak, said in an interview with Sky News Australia, a News Corp-owned news channel.
Musk’s advertising woes mean Zuckerberg has more money “to play with,” according to Pollak. Threads “will probably do well,” he said. Meta’s stock is up 3 percent following the reports, trading today at $295 per share. The price represents an 18-month high for the social media company.
How will Threads work?
Users can access Threads using their Instagram credentials, according to the App Store post. They will also have the option to follow the same accounts as they do on Instagram. Users will be able to post text and photo updates to followers in a format similar to that of Twitter.
“One of the biggest benefits for Meta is that it’s building off the back of Instagram, where people are familiar and can also kickstart their following because it ties into the same social graph,” according to Navarra. Users on other platforms like Mastodon and Bluesky have to build their following from scratch.
Threads won’t initially launch in the E.U., according to Bloomberg. The company is awaiting decisions on the Digital Markets Act, a new E.U. regulation that limits the power of big internet companies. It could change how Meta collects user data and allow WhatsApp rivals greater access to the platform.