Twitter users fly away to alternative platforms

Twitter, one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, will see increased competition in the microblogging space when Instagram launches a competing service on Friday.

The company has already experienced a tumultuous 10 months since Elon Musk completed his purchase of the platform in October, with users being limited in the amount of tweets they could view this week.

Why are people fleeing Twitter?

Twitter saw more than one million users permanently close their accounts in March after controversial decisions since Mr Musk’s takeover, as usability issues and verification mayhem made people consider their options.

Shortly after purchasing Twitter and taking it private, Mr Musk fired high-ranking staff and laid off half of the company’s 7500 employees.

But some employees were then asked to return because they were essential to keeping the platform running.

Mr Musk targeted Twitter’s content moderation teams with layoffs and a large number of users who had previously been permanently suspended by Twitter for racism, homophobia, harassment and a range of other reasons were allowed back.

The most high profile was the former president of the United States Donald Trump, despite the fact he’d launched a competing social media company for conservatives. Mr Trump never returned to Twitter.

After having his account reinstated, rapper Kanye West was quickly re-suspended after a string of anti-semitic tweets.

Changes to the verification system, where users would need to pay for the blue tick previously used to confirm someone’s identity, resulted in cases of impersonation, including of Mr Musk.

A separate verification system for companies and world leaders was later introduced after companies fled the platform.

The alternatives

Instagram Threads is expected to launch this week and given that the platform already has a built-in user base, it will likely be one of Twitter’s biggest competitors.

The app is already appearing for iPhone users in the US, and it will directly port over Instagram followers and lists.

Instagram Threads is expected to launch in Australia at midnight on Friday. Photo: TND

“Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today, to what’ll be trending tomorrow,” the App Store description reads.

“Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favourite creators and others who love the same things, or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.”

Bluesky, currently in beta testing, was co-founded by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who left the company after Mr Musk made the purchase.

Jack Dorsey has launched his own rival to Twitter, just months after leaving the company he helped create. Photo: Getty

Although it is currently in beta and only available through an invite code – given sporadically to users to pass to their friends – the platform was forced to pause new users because of the huge influx from people fleeing Twitter for greener pastures after having their feeds limited.

Substack, a platform for independent writing and newsletters, launched its Notes short-form posting section in April, which resulted in Twitter blocking embedded tweets to the platform.

Notes is still well used by the community of writers on Substack, but hasn’t been adopted widely by people outside the ecosystem.

Mastodon had an influx of users when Twitter was bought by Mr Musk, however, the platform hasn’t taken off due to a number of issues.

The open-source and free software has a complex method of connecting independently run ‘nodes’, which often left new users looking for the ease of use offered by Twitter confused.

Post News is a Twitter alternative focused on journalists, who have historically flocked to Twitter to share their work, created by the former vice-president of product at Google, Noam Bardin.

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