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Meta activates Twitter alternative Threads with 10m subscribers as app goes live in 100 countries

Threads App Goes Live! Photo: New York Daily News

*Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, hints that Threads, created by Facebook and Instagram owners as a Twitter alternative, targets over 1 billion users as the new public conversation app goes live early Thursday, July 6, in the United Kingdom

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Threads, a new-fangled app billed as a rival to global technology giant Twitter, has seen over 10 million users sign up in its first few hours of launch midnight Thursday, July 6, 2023, in the United Kingdom (UK), according to Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Meta.

ConsumerConnect reports the technology giant earlier has assured the global community of activating the platform later this week.

Threads, created by Facebook and Instagram owners Meta went live in the UK at midnight Thursday, July 6, 2023.

It was learnt that activation of the platform was brought forward by 15 hours and made freely available in 100 countries, but it is not yet available in the EU due to regulatory concerns.

Linked to Instagram, Threads allows users to post up to 500 characters of text and up to five minutes of video and links, as well as pictures.

Chef Gordon Ramsay, pop star Shakira and Mark Hoyle, better known as the YouTuber LadBaby, have already joined and made their presence on the app known, agency report said.

The birth of Threads app

The launch comes against a backdrop of turbulence at Twitter, after it imposed tweet viewing limits at the weekend in a move Elon Musk’s social media company partly blamed on data harvesting by companies building Artificial Intelligence (AI) models.

Hitherto, several Twitter subscribers have publicly expressed frustrations with Twitter since Mr. Musk took over, partly linked to political views and erratic behaviour, as well as efforts to push more users towards its paid-for Twitter Blue service, report noted.

Company targets a public conversations app with 1 billion+ subscribers

In one of his latest posts on the new app under the username zuck, using a “mind blown” emoji, Mr. Zuckerberg Thursday morning reportedly wrote: “10 million sign up in seven hours.”

Earlier, Zuckerberg wasted to have said: “I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”

The platform is directly linked with Instagram, which has more than two billion users.

Twitter is estimated to have over 350 million users.

Threads, a more wholesome alternative to Twitter -Zuckerberg

In mean time, Zuckerberg has suggested that Threads would be a more wholesome alternative to Twitter.

He said: “The goal is to keep it friendly as it expands. I think it’s possible and will ultimately be the key to its success.”

The new app is the latest chapter in the rivalry between Zuckerberg and Musk, who bought Twitter October 2022.

It is recalled, the pair – two of the world’s most high-profile billionaires – agreed to take each other on in a cage fight in an exchange that went viral on social media.

Musk had tweeted about Meta, writing: “It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”

As part of the flexibility of Threads, users of the new app will be able to use their Instagram login to get started and, like on the picture-sharing platform, can follow and connect with friends and influencers with similar interests, report stated.

In the UK, all users under 18 will be defaulted onto a private profile when they join.

Someone’s feed on the app includes threads from people they follow as well as recommended content from creators they have not yet heard of.

Threads posts can be shared on a user’s Instagram story and as a link on other platforms.

People can control who mentions them and who can reply to them on the new app, replies to threads containing specific words can be filtered out and other users can be unfollowed, blocked, restricted and reported.

Any accounts a user has blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on the new app and Instagram’s safety guidelines will be enforced on the new platform, Meta said.

Towards a new era of diverse, interconnected networks

Eventually, the California-based company wants it to be possible for people without a ‘Threads’ account to interact on the platform, which it hopes will usher in a “new era of diverse and interconnected networks”.

If and when this happens, if a user has a public profile their posts will be accessible from other apps while if they have a private one they will have to approve new followers.

Earlier this week, social media consultant and industry analyst Matt Navarra told the PA news agency the app is the “first credible threat” to Twitter.

Navarra said: “I think that Threads is the first real, credible threat to Elon Musk’s Twitter.

“Users of Twitter are desperately looking for an exit from the platform to escape, and the existing options of rivals are fairly limited.”

The expert also explained: “They all have the same big problem, which is you have to start from zero – it’s a network that is completely new.

“One of the biggest benefits for Meta is that it’s building off the back of Instagram, where people are familiar and can also kick-start their following because it ties into the same social graph.”

He said that while users have an appetite for change, it would be weighed up against mixed public opinions on Meta.

“Meta and Instagram comes with baggage, a bad name and bad press. People are very wary and sceptical of anything [Meta owner] Mark Zuckerberg does.”

The arrival of the new app comes after Twitter announced TweetDeck is to become the next part of the company to be limited to users who have paid for verified status.

Two days earlier, Mr Musk announced non-verified users would be limited to reading just 1,000 posts a day, according to report.

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