Meta has officially launched Threads, a text-based app – quite clearly a Twitter alternative. Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced the new service just a day before its scheduled launch on July 6th. The launch of Threads in the EU will be on hold until Meta can address certain potential regulatory concerns.
In a blog post, Meta called Threads as a “separate space for real-time updates and public conversations.” For now, the app will rely on users’ Instagram credentials for login. But the app is expected to build compatibility with a range of decentralized services. Threads will eventually become compatible with platforms like Mastodon, as it supports the open-source protocol, ActivityPub.
Threads, just like Instagram, will rely on recommendations to help users discover new accounts to follow. Meta has been circulating and testing Threads among a select group of celebrities and creators to ensure that when it is finally launched for the public, they find an active social network.
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Threads has certain design aspects that closely follow Twitter. It also has elements familiar to Instagram users. The app allows users to post textual messages of up to 500 characters, along with photos and videos. The videos can be of up to five minutes in length. It also has a similar feature like the retweet, Meta is calling it repost. Users can also create quote posts. Posts on Threads can easily be shared on Instagram as stories to increase visibility. Users can control who can reply to their posts, with options to limit, block, and report other users.
Twitter has had its back against the wall for quite some time, the launch of Threads comes as an additional blow. Elon Musk has recently imposed strict rate limits and the platform also blocked logged out users from viewing Tweets. Although they quietly walked back on the latter. These changes are being made to thwart data scrapers.
Meta’s decision to integrate Threads with ActivityPub allowing the decentralized app users to interact with public posts on Threads is poised to create a new multi-platform network that Twitter never tried to build. There will surely be challenges in terms of data privacy and security in general. We’ll have to wait and watch how Meta handles them.