In recent times, several alternatives to Twitter have emerged, capturing the attention of users seeking a fresh text-based social media experience. Among these platforms are Mastodon, Bluesky, Spill, and T2. Now, Meta has entered the fray with a significant launch tied to Instagram, introducing the Threads app.
Threads is Meta’s answer to a text-based Twitter competitor. It is linked to your Instagram account, allowing you to create an account using your Instagram login details. Unlike Twitter, Threads currently does not feature any paid tiers or ads. However, your Instagram verification mark is transferred to Threads, even if you’ve paid for Meta Verified. Users can leverage their Instagram network to find people to follow.
Despite its recent launch, Threads does not yet offer Twitter-like features such as long videos, direct messages, and live audio rooms. The platform is available on iOS and Android in over 100 countries, but due to privacy concerns, it is not currently accessible in the EU. Logging in through your Instagram account allows you to follow all the people you already follow on Instagram, and import your username, name, and settings like block list.
Threads has already seen a surge in popularity, crossing the 10 million signups mark within hours of its launch. Users can post up to 500 characters in one post on the app, and the post can include images and videos, but GIFs are not yet supported. A Thread post can contain up to 10 media items.
Currently, Threads does not have a timeline that only shows posts from accounts that you follow. The home timeline is algorithmic and includes a mix of posts from accounts you follow and others. Instagram head Adam Mosseri has stated that posts are ranked lightly and show recommendations (posts from accounts you don’t follow) in the feed, which is particularly important for a new app before people follow enough accounts.
Threads does not currently support the feature of a decentralized social network, meaning you cannot migrate in or out of the server. However, Mosseri has indicated that ActivityPub support is on the way. This is significant because it means that if you ever decide to leave Threads or are de-platformed, you should be able to take your audience with you to another server.
There are several features currently missing from Threads, including a “Following” feed, support for GIFs, full web version support, editing posts, inline translation, support for user-generated Alt image text, and hashtags.
As Threads is linked to your Instagram account, Meta states that “it is part of your Instagram account.” This has raised questions about the app’s data collection practices, given the privacy labels mentioned in the App Store.