Zuckerberg Boasts Threads Had 5 Million Downloads In The First 4 Hours… We’re One Of Them And Here’s What We Think

In a bid to attract users dissatisfied with recent changes made by owner Elon Musk, Meta Platforms chief Mark Zuckerberg has introduced Threads, a Twitter-like platform. Within four hours of the release, Zuckerberg claims that the app had over 5 million downloads already, with signups claimed to be 10 million by hour seven.

Of course, The Deep Dive wouldn’t be the last to test out the new platform — and here’s what we think.

But first, give us a follow on Threads: @the.deep.dive

The Meta effect

One key advantage of the app over Twitter is its potential access to billions of users already on Meta’s Instagram, which serves as the foundation for Threads. This is why many are calling Threads a serious contender to Twitter’s user base, with some labeling it the “Twitter killer”.

Within four hours of its launch, the new social network garnered over 5 million sign-ups, surpassing the single-digit millions of users seen by competitors like Mastodon and Bluesky.

Threads, like Zuckerberg’s other social media platforms, is not immune to privacy, moderation, and algorithmic feed concerns that have deterred users. As soon as users log in, Threads displays recommended posts from accounts and brands that may not align with their interests or followings.

And even though you already follow accounts on Threads, the app still shows posts from other accounts you’re not following. There is also a growing crossover from Twitter in terms of users.

To join Threads, you must have an existing Instagram account. Then, you can proceed to download the Threads app on either iOS or Android to create your account. Although Meta mentioned the availability of direct web access, it appears to be currently inaccessible. Your Threads account will have the same username as your Instagram account, and cannot be changed in the native Threads app – it must be done via Instagram – which will likely inflate Instagram’s sign-up figures, since people like to remain anonymous on Twitter-like platforms, rather than use their real names.

During the initial usage of the app, you will be given the option to automatically follow the same accounts you follow on Instagram, or you can manually select specific accounts. It remains to be seen how users will navigate this aspect, as some may follow Instagram accounts solely for their visually appealing content, while seeking different types of engagement such as political discussions or TV-related conversations on Threads.

And now the bad. Posts don’t appear chronologically (and there’s no option to do so), which makes it rather useless currently for finance or news-geared users. The search function is currently just for users, not posts. And hashtags (or cashtags for FinTwit users) aren’t yet a thing.

Europe hurdle

What would probably be a hurdle for the app is the regulatory issues surrounding the digital space. Threads is currently not available in Europe upon launch due to Meta’s recent privacy rule violations, resulting in a record $1.3 billion fine from the Irish Data Protection Commission. The region’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) further challenges Meta’s data-sharing and privacy practices.

According to a spokesperson from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, Meta has confirmed that Threads will not be initially introduced in the EU. The deputy commissioner of the Irish watchdog, Graham Doyle, stated that Meta informed them of their current lack of plans to launch the service in the EU when contacted by Bloomberg via phone.

As of Wednesday morning, Threads was not listed in app stores across EU countries such as Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Ireland, and Belgium. However, the app is scheduled to go live on Thursday, as indicated by listings in Apple Inc.’s App Store in the US and UK.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, expressed regret over the delayed launch of Threads in the EU. However, he explained that if Meta had waited for regulatory clarity from Brussels, the release of Threads would have been postponed for “many, many, many months.”

“I was worried that our window would close, because timing is important,” he said to Platformer.

Under the DMA rules, several companies, including Meta, have designated themselves as “gatekeepers.” This designation potentially subjects them to stricter regulations regarding data sharing and favoritism towards their own products. Gatekeepers are prohibited from merging users’ personal data across different platforms.

Twitter clone

Meta explicitly emphasizes that Threads is not a Twitter clone, instead positioning it as an app focused on text and dialogue, inspired by Instagram’s success with photo and video content. Nonetheless, Threads operates much like Twitter, primarily revolving around text conversations. Each post, referred to as a “thread,” is limited to 500 characters. Users can mention others using the @ symbol and reply to existing posts. Additionally, the app allows users to quote or repost others’ threads.

Similar to Twitter, Threads offers users the choice between public and private accounts. For public posts, users can adjust their reply settings to allow everyone, only the accounts they follow, or those mentioned in the post to respond.

In contrast to Twitter, Threads does not initially feature a separate direct messaging function. Moreover, users have greater control over the visibility of their posts.

Safety measures align with Instagram’s policies, prohibiting the endorsement of hate or terrorist groups, firearm sales, or threats against individuals or groups. Users under the age of 16 are automatically assigned private accounts, and users can restrict replies to only those they follow or mention in their threads.

Threads currently lacks Twitter’s functionality for hashtags and trending topics, and it does not allow users to edit their threads once they have been posted. Upon opening the app, users are presented with a feed that includes a combination of selected accounts and algorithmically generated suggestions. Notable individuals and entertainment brands already active on Threads include Jennifer Lopez, Gordon Ramsay, Malala Yousafzai, Netflix, and Bravo TV.

While users can incorporate photos and videos into their Threads posts, they are not displayed as Instagram posts or Reels. Although it is possible to share Instagram media on Reels, it appears as regular links, without seamless integration between the two apps.

Meta claims that Threads will reduce the risk for creators who want to explore a new text-based social media app without starting from scratch. Influencers can encourage their Instagram fan base to join Threads. However, followers must opt-in to follow their favorite creators on Threads, and there’s no guarantee that all followers will be interested in the new app.

Meta plans to make Threads compatible with the ActivityPub protocol, enabling interoperability with decentralized social networks like Mastodon. While this potential development could revolutionize the industry, past experiences with inter-app compatibility in Silicon Valley have been mixed.

Threads currently does not display ads upon its launch, but Meta may introduce them in the future. As Meta’s revenue primarily relies on tracking user behavior for targeted advertising, it’s likely that Threads will adopt a similar approach.

Meta’s existing apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, collectively boast a staggering daily user base of over 3 billion people, as reported in April. With the integration of Threads into the Instagram ecosystem, users will be able to use the same usernames and access their entire network of followers seamlessly.

Information for this story was found via Washington Post and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

Leave a Reply