Mark Zuckerberg has long wanted to get rid of Twitter and give it a central place for public conversation online. But Twitter remains irreplaceable.
Zuckerberg didn’t stop there.
On Monday, his company Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, teased a new app aimed squarely at Twitter territory.
An app called Threads that works with Instagram Coming to Apple’s App Store Users will have to sign up to download it on Thursday when it is released. The app works much like Twitter and appears to be more focused on public conversations, allowing users to follow people they already follow on Instagram. Some techies are calling the app a “Twitter killer.”
Zuckerberg is on strike as Twitter is hit with new turmoil. Since Elon Musk acquired the social platform last year, he has tinkered with Twitter’s algorithms that determine which posts get the most views, scrapped content moderation rules that banned certain types of tweets, and reduced users’ We’ve completely overhauled our identity verification process and changed our service. .
And last weekend, Musk put a limit on the number of tweets users can see while using the app. He said the move was a response to other companies obtaining Twitter data through a process called “scraping.” Twitter users were immediately shown a message that they had exceeded their “rate limit”, effectively rendering the app unusable after briefly viewing the post. Many Twitter users were frustrated.
“I don’t know if there has ever been such a self-defeating owner of a multi-billion dollar company who resented the very customers who made the company successful,” said marketing firm AJL Advisory. said Lou Pasqualis, founder and CEO of said Musk, an ad tech strategy firm, of Musk and Twitter.
The recent turmoil on Twitter seems to have given Zuckerberg an opportunity to Threads.
Meta executives have been discussing ways to capitalize on Twitter’s chaos since last year, including building competing services. “Twitter is in danger and Meta needs to regain its dignity,” one Meta employee wrote in an internal post last year, according to a December New York Times report. “Let’s go get some bread and butter.”
The result was Threads, a crash project spun out of Instagram, internally codenamed Project 92. According to a photo preview of the app in Apple’s App Store, users will be able to log into Threads using their Instagram accounts.
Meta executives have previously characterized the app as a “well-run” version of the social network for the general public, casually criticizing Musk’s erratic behavior.
Musk and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment. However, Threads quickly gained online prominence thanks to a statement by one of Twitter’s co-founders, Jack Dorsey. Tweet A screenshot of the app’s data policy and Mr. Musk replied“yes.”
A spokeswoman for Meta did not respond to a request for comment.
Meta is launching Threads while facing unique challenges. The Silicon Valley company is investing heavily in moving to an immersive digital world, the so-called Metaverse. However, the move has been met with skepticism, given that the metaverse is far from mainstream.
Zuckerberg has spent the last few months cutting Meta’s costs and also grappling with the question of whether the company is lagging behind in the race for artificial intelligence. At a staff meeting last month, he outlined last year’s mass layoffs and rallied employees with a vision for how Meta’s AI efforts would merge with plans for the Metaverse.
Despite these challenges, Meta remains Twitter’s most trusted competitor, with deep pockets and over 3 billion users on Facebook, Instagram or other apps. Other platforms looking to exploit Twitter’s weaknesses, including Tumblr, Nostr, Spill, Mastodon, and Bluesky, are all much smaller than Meta.
“Although Facebook is in decline, it still has a huge user base,” said Pascalis of AJL Advisory. He added that the large number of users would make it more likely that copycat apps would “succeed at Twitter’s expense.”
Facebook and Twitter have long clashed to capture the latest conversations online. In Twitter’s early days, Zuckerberg offered to buy the company, but was turned down. Even before the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook made a big deal of featuring its live products and trending topics at political events and on television.
Since then, Zuckerberg has focused on initiatives such as live-streaming videos (an area Twitter is also working on) and trending hashtags that allow users to explore popular topics on Facebook and Instagram. .
Zuckerberg and Musk may face off in the ring in a different way.
The two are discussing the possibility of sparring in a mixed martial arts match, according to Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship Sports franchise. No date has been set, but the tech billionaires have informally told Mr. White that they are willing to fight each other, and the outlines of the event are taking shape.