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Meta’s Threads swiftly signs up 30 million users, in clear threat to Elon Musk-owned Twitter.

Meta’s Threads, a new social media platform, has attracted more than 30 million users in less than 24 hours. This makes it a serious contender to Twitter, which has been struggling to grow its user base in recent years. Threads’ success is largely due to its integration with Instagram, which has over 2 billion users. This gives Threads a built-in audience, and its similar look and feel to Twitter makes it easy for users to transition from one platform to the other.

Threads, dubbed the “Twitter Killer,” was the most popular free app in the U.S. and the UK on Thursday in the Apple App Store. It arrives after months of teasing from Twitter CEO Elon Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who even threatened to engage in a live mixed martial arts cage bout in Las Vegas.

“The cage has begun, and Zuckerberg struck hard. Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, said: “In many ways, it’s precisely what you’d expect from Meta: stellar execution and an easy-to-navigate user experience.

In retaliation, Twitter threatened to sue Meta on Thursday, according to the news source Semafor, which cited a letter sent to Zuckerberg by a Twitter lawyer. There was no quick comment from Twitter. The Semafor claim was not immediately confirmed by Reuters.

According to Meta, there are no former Twitter employees on the Threads technical team.

Following Musk’s $44 billion purchase of the social media site last year, which was followed by a series of erratic actions that alienated both users and advertisers, a number of rivals to Twitter have emerged. Musk’s most recent action was restricting how many tweets users may read each day.

Analysts and industry professionals asserted that Twitter’s missteps have created space for a well-funded rival like Meta Platforms (META.O), notably due to the latter’s access to Instagram users and advertising prowess.

Niklas Myhr, a professor of marketing at Chapman University, referred to the turbulence at Twitter when it limited the number of tweets users could see. “Meta’s release of Threads came at the right time to give it a fighting chance to upset Twitter,” he added.

As it is based on the Instagram platform, which has a huge user base, “Threads will be off to a running start. If users adopt Threads, advertisers will be closely following behind.”

Other rivals have had only modest success. According to its website, Mastodon, another program similar to Twitter, has 1.7 million monthly active users, while Bluesky, backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has roughly 265,000.

In May 2022, Twitter had 229 million active monthly users, according to a statement made prior to Musk’s acquisition.

THE LIMITATIONS OF THREADS
This rendering from July 4, 2023, shows the Threads app by Meta. Dado Ruvic’s illustration is from Reuters.
The more than 2 billion monthly active users of Instagram may easily install Threads because it is a separate app that allows users to log in using their Instagram credentials.

Given that Threads still lacks Twitter’s bells and whistles, its launch was obviously only a first attempt at a service.

“There ought to be a public chat application with more than 1 billion users. Twitter has had the chance to do this but hasn’t quite succeeded. Zuckerberg, who has one million followers on Threads, stated, “Hopefully we will.

Because Threads lacks hashtags and keyword search capabilities, users are unable to follow events in real time like they do on Twitter. Additionally, it does not yet have a direct messaging feature or a desktop version that some users, such as commercial companies, depend on.

Tech reviewer Marques Brownlee and other users have discussed the necessity for a feed that only contains the people one is following. The main feed currently has very little user control.

To bolster advertiser confidence, Musk hired Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino in May. On Thursday, she tweeted that “everyone’s voice matters” on the platform. “We’re frequently copied, but the Twitter community is incomparable.”

The Threads app does not now have any advertisements, and according to Zuckerberg, the business won’t consider monetization until it is clear how to reach 1 billion users.

Current ad partnerships with Facebook and Instagram should help Threads’ earnings, according to Pinar Yildirim, an associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“Compared to Twitter, Facebook is a less risky bet and a more significant player in the advertising market.”

In the case of Instagram’s Stories and Reels, some observers claimed that Threads was similar to Meta’s successful integration of key features from platforms like Snapchat and TikTok.

The price objective for Meta shares, whose value has already more than doubled this year, was upped by at least four brokerages.

Following a 3% increase on Wednesday in anticipation of Threads’ introduction, Meta shares were down 0.2% on Thursday.

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