Is Threads Really a ‘Twitter Killer’?

Is Threads Really a ‘Twitter Killer’?

News by Roberto OrosaRoberto Orosa
Published: July 23, 2023

Meta’s social media app Threads has accumulated over 150 million downloads in just a week since launch, making it the most rapidly downloaded app in history.  

However, while many have dubbed it the “Twitter Killer,” it hasn’t been completely smooth sailing for the new platform.

Threads Features: The Good and the Bad  

Threads shares very similar characteristics to Elon Musk’s Twitter, with the company describing it as a text-based conversation app “where communities come together to discuss everything, from the topics you care about today to what'll be trending tomorrow.” 

The app also allows users to carry over their “following” list into the new platform, making the sign-up process smooth, with their timeline occupied by posts from users they already know.  

When it comes to word count, the new platform outshines the bird app, allowing up to 500 characters per post compared to Twitter’s 280-character limit.  

That is, until you take into account Twitter Blue. The app’s paid subscription service lets users post tweets up to 10,000 characters when they’re verified. 

Threads, on the other hand, allows up to 10 images and videos up to five minutes long per post – a mighty feat in comparison to Twitter, which accommodates only four per tweet.  

Despite these small wins, the up-and-coming app lacks many features when stacked against the Musk-owned app.  

For starters, Threads has yet to let users draft posts – a feature Twitter has offered since its early days.  

It also lacks a direct message feature. While this makes sense considering its creators encourage public conversations (hence, its name), it misses out on the opportunity to create a more intimate space for users who want to connect with their peers privately.  

Lastly, Threads carries over the community guidelines of its parent app, Instagram. This means it contains strict policies against the posting of NSFW content – a stark contrast to Twitter’s liberal policies surrounding posts with nudity or sexual content.  

On top of this, the app has so far shunned news, with its CEO declaring that it won’t encourage political discussions or news because of “scrutiny, negativity, and integrity risks.”  

This is where Twitter dominates. Aside from allowing news and giving publications and news outlets the option to charge users per article instead of with subscriptions, it also has a Community Notes feature that fact checks posts that potentially spread misinformation. 

While it may have some hurdles to overcome, Meta is hard at work to bring more features to its app.  

In fact, on July 19 it dropped its first major update for iOS, bringing new features such as a “follows” tab, the ability to subscribe to unfollowed users, a translate button, and more.  

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri also shared that an alternative feed is on the way after receiving a stamp of approval from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  

The new feed will also allow users to see posts from accounts they follow in chronological order – the company’s response to complaints over the app’s algorithm. 

Additionally, the company is reportedly working on an edit button, easier switching between Threads accounts, a more robust desktop interface, and a way to delete a Threads account without needing to delete the Instagram account it’s linked to. 

Threads Weekly Active Users Decline  

While new developments are on the way, Threads needs to accelerate these changes if it wants to sustain its user base.  

Research from and Sensor Tower revealed that while the app had already reached one-fifth of Twitter’s user base, it also experienced a slight dip in early usage.  

According to reports, Threads experienced a 20% decline in daily active users last week compared to the week before. Time spent on the app also dropped by half, from 20 minutes to 10 minutes of screentime, according to CNBC.  

Threads needs to act fast and bring forth changes to the app immediately if it wants to stop this decline. 

On the other hand, while it’s not looking to be the “Twitter Killer” many deemed it to be on the week of its launch, “killing” off its competitors may not even be its goal to begin with.   

In reply to a post by The Verge’s Alex Heath, Mosseri shared that the goal of Threads isn’t to replace Twitter, but instead to “create a public square for communities on Instagram that never really embraced Twitter, and for communities on Twitter that are interested in a less angry place for conversations.” 

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