Everything you need to know about Threads, Meta’s new Twitter competitor

Meta launched its Instagram-integrated platform Threads a day early on Thursday, looking to expand from photos and videos into text in an effort to compete with struggling micro-blogging juggernaut Twitter.

“The vision for Threads is to create an option and friendly public space for conversation,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Threads post.

“We hope to take what Instagram does best and create a new experience around text, ideas, and discussing what’s on your mind.”

Inbuilt user base

One major advantage Threads holds over its competitors is Instagram’s incredible popularity.

Users are able to log in with their Instagram accounts, porting their followers across, but have the option to personalise their account separately on Threads.

Anyone under the age of 16 will default to a private account upon launch, with the ability to change to public in the settings.

Usernames are linked to Instagram accounts, so there will be no ‘squatting’ of handles belonging to high-profile individuals or businesses.

The messaging feature on the app carries across between Instagram, Facebook and Threads.

Posts on Threads will have a maximum of 500 characters, and can include links, photos and videos of up to five minutes.

Hashtags are currently unavailable.

Posts can be shared on Instagram stories, and users can control who replies and use hidden words to instantly hide responses.

Any account blocked on a person’s Instagram account will automatically be blocked on Threads.

New features, including a more robust search engine, will be implemented, and there are no plans to allow advertising or monetisation on the platform in 2023 as it builds its user base.

The feed is a combination of people you are following, imported from your main Instagram account, and recommended posts.

There is only a single feed, unlike Twitter which features separate recommended and following feeds.

One interesting development is Meta’s intention to allow other social media content, as long as it meets Instagram and Threads’ terms of service, to appear directly on the platform via an ActivityPub, allowing interconnected networks to interact without a Threads account.

ActivityPub is an open, decentralised social networking protocol, used by platforms like Mastodon and Tumblr.

Current issues

There is also no web or computer app, so the only way to access threads is through a phone, and users can’t search for individual posts.

About 100 countries have access to the app, available on the Apple store and Google Play store, however, the entire EU has no access to the platform after Meta delayed the launch because of the EU Digital Markets Acts, which includes limits of sharing data across different platforms, according to The Guardian.

Both Elon Musk and former Twitter CEO and Bluesky founder Jack Dorsey took to Twitter to attack their new competitor in the microblogging space.

Mr Musk referred to an earlier comment by a Meta executive, who said content creators were looking for a platform that was run by sane people.

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