Meta announced the Threads app on July 6. The app is built by the team at Instagram and allows users to share text updates and join public conversations. Given its user interface and features, it is easy to deduce that the app aims to compete against Twitter — the Elon Musk-owned microblogging site which has rustled up the social media community recently. The similarities as well as the differences between Twitter and Threads are being discussed widely. The policy and terms and uses of the apps and the amount of restrictions imposed on users or its lack thereof, is also notable.
What is Threads — the new app by Meta?
Threads have been introduced as a social media site for publishing short text updates of up to 500 characters, which can include photos and links. Users can also upload a video of up to 5 minutes on their post. According to Meta, an existing Instagram account can be used to log in to the app, and users can "easily share a Threads post to your Instagram story, or share your post as a link on any other platform you choose."
Posts from individuals and profiles that users follow on Instagram or Threads will appear on the home feed, as will the recommendations for new content, just like Instagram. Just like Twitter, Threads users are also allowed to filter particular words from their feed and limit who is permitted to mention them in a post and/or comments.
The app is available for free download on both Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for iOS and Android users, respectively. Within the first few hours of launch, the app crossed 10 million sign-ins.
How does Threads work?
As a precursor to having a Threads account, the user must have an Instagram account, since users are asked to log in to the newly-launched platform using their Instagram credentials. Their Instagram username will be carried over once the Threads account is set up, but users will be able to personalise their profile.
Users will quite seamlessly be able to follow the same accounts they presently follow on Instagram rather than starting all over from scratch. When users update a post or "Thread," they are allowed the option to choose who can see it, which varies between all Threads users or only their followers.
As is a staple in most popular social media platforms, users have the ability to unfollow, report, block, or restrict an account. Instagram and Threads are so closely integrated, which means that any blocked Instagram accounts will automatically be blocked on Threads when used through the three dots drop-down options. The app also supports a screen reader and AI-generated visual descriptions.
Meta added that it is trying to make Threads compatible with and integrated with other apps that accept the ActivityPub protocol, like WordPress and Mastodon. The firm claimed that they are slowly working to allow users to use Threads app independently, regardless of whether they have an Instagram account or not.
Battle of the Execs — Who wins?
This is as good a time as any to have launched Threads app since Twitter is caught in a storm between advertisers, users and its owner. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg may not directly face off against Elon Musk in a cage fight, but their tech world rivalry continues. The inbuilt Instagram link in Threads is likely to create a strong user base in a limited time considerably easier. Though Musk increased Twitter's daily post limit to 10,000 for verified users, 1,000 for unverified users, and 500 for new unverified users, the move is likely to lead to a loss of subscribers – and advertisers, who started pulling out of the business since Musk's November 2022 takeover.
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