Threads: The Twitter Killer?

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, launched Threads on July 6, 2023. This new social media app is seen as a direct competitor to Twitter, which was recently acquired by Elon Musk. Musk and Zuckerberg have been rivals for years, and the launch of Threads can be seen asthe latest salvo in their ongoing feud.

Twitter has been facing a number of challenges in recent months, including an increase in bots and spam, as well as the announcement of rate limits. These changes have led some users to look for alternative social media platforms. Could the launch of Threads, a new app from Meta, a company with a long history in social media, be the final nail in the coffin for Twitter?

Threads was met with an enthusiastic reception when it was launched, with two million users signing up in just two hours.This is not surprising, as Threads is essentially an extension of Instagram so every Instagram user already has a Threads account. This has helped Threads easily solve the most difficult challenge encountered by any new social media app: acquiring users. Those who did sign up for Threads seemed to enjoy the app’s interface, and its relative newness offered a refreshing change from Twitter’s supposed toxic environment. Zuckerberg’s statement that “The vision for Threads is to create an open and friendly space for conversation” seemed to resonate with many users.

Twitter threatened legal action against Meta within 24 hours of the launch of Threads, alleging that Meta had “systematically, willfully, and unlawfully misappropriated Twitter’s trade secrets and IP, as well as scraped Twitter’s data.” Elon Musk also tweeted that “competition is fine, cheating is not.” Meta spokesperson Andy Stone, however, denied the allegations, stating that “no one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee.” It is unclear how far Twitter is willing to go with its legal action, but it is clear that Threads is viewed as a major threat.

Five days after the launch of Threads, Zuckerberg announced that the platform had amassed one hundred million users making it the fastest growing application in history. However, the platform’s momentum has since slowed. According to data from SimilarWeb, the number of daily active users has declined from 49 million to 23.6 million in just one week. The average time spent on the app each day has also decreased from 21 minutes to six minutes. Some have attributed this decline in engagement to the platform’s lack of features, such as the inability to use hashtags or view trending topics. However, it is more likely that Threads has simply done a poor job of retaining users, which is a key characteristic of successful social media platforms.

Despite the challenges Threads is facing, Zuckerberg has expressed optimism about its future. In a post on the app, he said that the early growth of Threads has exceeded his expectations. He noted that “tens of millions of people now come back daily,” which is “way ahead of what we expected.” Zuckerberg also stated that Meta’s focus for the rest of the year is to “improve the basics and retention.” This suggests that Meta is aware of the challenges Threads is facing, but it is confident that it can succeed in the long term. It will be interesting to see how Threads performs in the coming months.

I believe that Meta has the potential to launch an app that could replace Twitter. However, Threads has not been very successful so far. In my experience, many people who downloaded Threads when it was newly launched have since returned to Twitter. I think it is inaccurate to call Threads a “Twitter-killer.” It is more likely that the two apps are designed for different audiences and it will be up to users to decide which app they prefer. If Threads wants to replace Twitter, it will need to address the issues it currently has and do so quickly. Ultimately, I do not think that Threads is currently capable of killing Twitter. What do you think?

Daniel Akintayo

Fikayomi Owoseni

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