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Threads surges ahead with triple the iOS downloads of X.

While app downloads aren’t perfect usage indicators, they can suggest market trends. And when it comes to alt-Twitter warfare, Instagram’s Threads is currently the winner. Thanks to Meta’s take on Twitter, X (previously Twitter) is now downloaded three times as frequently on iOS worldwide and has more than twice as many installs on Google Play, sometimes even more than three times as many.

It wasn’t always like this. Naturally, after its summer 2023 public launch, Threads saw a huge spike in new installs. However, in the months that followed, downloads would frequently spike and fall as parent company Meta tried a variety of tactics to drive more users to its new app, such as displaying well-liked threads within the timelines of its other apps, Facebook and Instagram. However, once the initial gains from these initiatives faded, Threads’ downloads would decline and then rebound to match X installs, especially on iOS, according to Appfigures data.

But toward the year’s end, things started to alter.

By the end of December, Threads was receiving daily installs of more than 500,000 on both iOS and Google Play. Since then, the latter has somewhat decreased in January, while Threads continues to consistently receive more daily downloads than X on both platforms, and this difference looks to be growing.

For instance, according to Appfigures data, on February 25, 2024, Threads saw 486,803 installs on Google Play and 342,228 on iOS, while X saw 225,408 downloads on Google Play and 112,625 on iOS. That’s more than twice as many downloads on Google Play and over three times as many on iOS for Threads.

On February 22, just a few days before, the disparity was considerably greater. At that point, Threads had 382,999 daily installs on iOS, more than three times as many as X, which had only 113,649 installs on the same platform. At this point, 660,882 downloads of Threads were available on Google Play, compared to just 210,475 downloads of X—more than triple—on the Play Store.

Even though Threads’ daily install rates fluctuate, they are now continuously higher than X’s. This shift may eventually apply to all monthly active users as well, over time. If that’s the case, Threads would overtake Twitter as the most popular microblogging platform among users, even though Twitter has a historical advantage in this regard. Additionally, it would give Meta more editorial control over the news ecosystem and information-sharing platform that journalists, scholars, researchers, news junkies, and others utilize. Meta has stated that it won’t endorse or amplify political content on Threads.

As of the company’s fourth quarter, Threads has 130 million monthly active users (MAUs), according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In the weeks that have passed, those figures have undoubtedly increased. For example, the Threads app is performing “remarkably well” in Japan, a region where Twitter had significant momentum, according to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri.

It’s unclear how many of the 500 million monthly active users that X claimed to have as of last fall are spam or automated accounts. A number of blue-checked, paid accounts unintentionally disclosed their source by responding to X posts with a canned AI response that said something like “I’m sorry, I cannot provide the requested feedback as it goes against OpenAI’s content policy,” as TechCrunch reported last month. This suggests that X may be experiencing a verified bot issue. This search on X for the identical question demonstrates that the issue is still present.

Even though Threads is not exempt from this problem, it seems that more users are inadvertently publishing this as a joke to their followers on Meta’s site.

X’s rebranding from Twitter may have contributed to some of its problems with fresh installs. According to Appfigures, downloads are still significantly lower than they were prior to the rebranding, even if they increased somewhat month over month in December and January. Although Threads’ revenue increased marginally in January over the previous month, the company predicts that February will see reduced sales. In comparison to this rivalry, the decentralized X alternatives—such as Bluesky, which recently went public, and Mastodon’s official mobile app—barely register as flat lines on the download chart. To be true, Mastodon has a sizable ecosystem of third-party apps, but according to its own first-party data, the overall number of active users on its network at the current time is about 1 million every month.

When it first opened to the public earlier this month, Bluesky also had a slight surge, but it has since lost steam. The day following its launch, February 7, was its busiest day, with 79,685 installs on iOS and 55,711 on Google Play—ffar lower than Threads’ or X’s stats. Even still, this social network is still in its infancy. Federation, which allows anyone to manage their own Bluesky server, was recently launched. Therefore, it’s feasible that, as a decentralized Twitter/X substitute, it will acquire popularity over time.


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