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Threads: Can Instagram’s messaging app shake up the Twitterverse?

Threads app

Since Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the social media landscape has undergone significant transformations. Several new contenders have emerged, aiming to overthrow the giant, but despite the hype surrounding platforms like Bluesky, none have managed to make a substantial impact. However, Instagram Threads stands apart from the rest.

In a remarkably short period, Instagram Threads has amassed over 95 million users. It also surpassed the popularity of ChatGPT, which took five days to reach 1 million users. While the Threads app is making waves in the world of messaging, ‘What sets this platform apart?’ remains a big question in the minds of many. Let’s delve into the same and uncover the allure of Instagram Threads.

What is Instagram Threads?

Threads, an app derived from Instagram, prioritises conversations over visual content, providing users with the ability to log in using their Instagram accounts and engage in text-based updates and participate in public discussions. The app’s design bears resemblance to Instagram’s comment section while incorporating Twitter-like functionalities including post replies and resharing. 

With Threads, users can create posts encompassing up to 500 characters (surpassing Twitter’s 280-character limit), incorporate links, share up to 10 photos, and even upload videos up to 5 minutes in duration.

Unlike Twitter, Threads does not support thread editing, offering a more permanent nature to discussions. It deviates from Twitter’s usage of hashtags and lacks a dedicated trending section, highlighting a distinction in its approach to content organisation and discovery.

Meta intends to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub, the universal protocol for social networking that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – the guardian of the web’s open standards – has created.

Remains inaccessible in Europe

As of now, the Threads app is not available in Europe. Users will only see its roll-out once Meta, the parent company behind Threads, Instagram, and Facebook, plans to do so. A Meta spokesperson notes that the company has not done so “because of upcoming regulatory uncertainty.” This means that Meta is awaiting some clarity from the European body in charge of regulating such apps. 

This is because of a law called the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), passed in the EU Parliament in 2022. The law is considered one of the more heavy-duty data and privacy protection regimes in the world, brought on as concerns emerge about the ever-growing impact of social media and large tech companies. 

Threads initiates a lawsuit

As a result of the launch of Threads, Twitter sued Meta. As per Reuters, in a letter sent to Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s lawyer Alex Spiro accused the company of hiring Twitter’s former employees, who appear to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information.

Twitter intends to enforce its intellectual property rights and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information. It is alleged that Meta has hired dozens of ex-Twitter employees and has deliberately assigned them to develop the Threads app, which mimics Twitter.  In response, Meta’s spokesperson claims that no one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee. 

Is it a Twitter killer?

Threads could lure users away from Twitter, especially those who are frustrated by Elon Musk’s new policies related to Twitter Blue, the updates he announced recently, including limiting the number of Tweets each user can read each day.

Notably, Twitter soared to great heights because it democratised communications, and enabled a voice for anyone. With time, people realised how it could affect culture and it became a town square for all. To put it in simple words, it gave the powerless a sense of power and being heard. After being taken over by one of the richest people in the world, it silences voices.

While many apps try to fill this gap, the new app by Meta establishes an easy connection between Instagram and Threads. It could allow for easier functionality and increased exposure for creators. 

Only the test of time can help us understand if the Threads app can be a success. 

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