In this photo illustration, META’s Threads logo is displayed on a smartphone with the Twitter logo in the background. Threads is Meta Platforms’ new social network launched on July 5, 2023.
Omar Marques | Nurphoto | Getty Images
meta New Twitter competitor Threads has seen explosive growth in its first full day since its public debut on Wednesday night, fueled by Instagram’s already huge user base.
The text-based social media platform already has more than 50 million signups, according to screenshots some users posted with their joining information. As of Thursday afternoon, The Verge reported that users had already posted more than 95 million posts and received 190 million likes based on the company’s internal data. Meta didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request to confirm its latest metrics Friday morning.
The booming growth is favored by the fact that Threads is connected to an existing social network, Metas Instagram. Users can sign up on Instagram with their existing accounts and keep a portion of their followers while others sign up for the app.
“Meta only needs one in four Instagram users using monthly threads to grow as big as Twitter,” Jasmine Enberg, chief analyst at Insider Intelligence, said in a statement. Twitter reported nearly 238 million monetizable daily active users in its latest quarterly earnings report as a public company last summer.
The app still has plenty of room for growth as it has yet to launch in Europe, where the Instagram boss said there were still some regulatory complexities to deal with.
Twitter owner Elon Musk already appears to have expressed some concerns about Threads, as his longtime attorney Alex Spiro wrote a letter to Meta accusing the company of “unlawfully misappropriating” trade secrets.
“Nobody on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee,” Meta communications director Andy Stone wrote on Threads in response to the letter. “It’s just not a thing.”
Still, growth alone will not be enough to make Threads an alternative to Twitter that will stand the test of time. The app must also show that it is capable of capturing users’ attention and making them want to come back.
While Twitter is known for being heavily used by journalists, politicians, and academics, and being a place where news breaks out frequently, Meta’s threads could reach a much wider audience due to its association with Instagram, which has various use cases as a visual medium and achieve a much larger focus-based platform. Additionally, Meta has taken steps to make political content less prominent on Facebook. This policy, if propagated to threads, would differ from Twitter.
“News hunters and avid Twitter loyalists are unlikely to defect to Twitter, and Meta needs to keep threads interesting to maintain momentum once the novelty wears off,” Enberg wrote. “It’s also not natural that people will use threads to keep up with news and world events like they do on Twitter, and the culture will be different. But that might work to Meta’s advantage: even the most dedicated Twitter users are fed up with the constant chaos and ad hoc changes, and threads could offer a nice relief.”
Nevertheless, many politicians have already signed up for the service. Axios reported that as of Thursday night, more than a quarter of the 535 members of Congress from both houses, as well as a half-dozen Republican presidential candidates and top White House advisers, had created accounts.
Many advertisers who are used to working with meta will also likely welcome an alternative to Twitter, especially if they see it as more brand-safe. The company has stated that Instagram’s Community Guidelines also apply to threads.
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