For months, users have been seeking an alternative to Twitter, adopting a presence on Mastodon, Hive or Bluesky in an effort to thwart the limits Elon Musk has placed on the app since his takeover last October. The latest restrictions include a limit on the number of tweets shown to users per day, including Twitter Blue subscribers, as well as TweetDeck becoming a verified-only feature in August.
On Wednesday, Instagram’s parent company, Meta, launched Threads, a text-based app for sharing text updates and joining public conversations that was built to rival Twitter. Within just 16 hours of its launch, over 30 million new users have downloaded and joined the app, making it the most rapidly downloaded app ever.
To join the millions of users and counting on Threads, download the app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play and use your Instagram login credentials to sign up. Once registered, the new platform can automatically link your accounts, pulling the followers, bio, profile image and username directly from Instagram.
Currently, you must have an Instagram account to sign up for Threads and the network is only available on mobile devices. Threads can be viewed on a desktop by navigating to a specific user profile or with a direct link, but right now there is no way for a user to see their main newsfeed. Additional limitations include the inability to edit posts once published and users are not able to record videos within the app; however, they can upload videos from their camera roll. The feed is not chronological, although Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, posted on Threads that a chronological feed is in the works.
Privacy features from Instagram, including blocking, restricting, and reporting other users, are available. These settings will be applied uniformly to both Instagram and Threads, so any accounts you previously had blocked on Instagram will also be blocked on Threads. Settings also include controls over who can mention you or reply to you within Threads. Like on Instagram, users can hide words to filter out replies to their threads that contain specific words they mind find harmful of offensive. Users also have the ability to set their profile as private or public but still have to approve all follow requests regardless of privacy settings. The core accessibility features available on Instagram, such as screen reader support and AI-generated image descriptions, are also enabled on Threads.
Some critics have raised concerns about privacy, given Meta’s history of profiting from users’ personal data. According to TechCrunch, “information provided about the app’s privacy via mandatory disclosures required on iOS shows the app may collect highly sensitive information about users in order to profile their digital activity – including health and financial data, precise location, browsing history, contacts, search history and other sensitive information.”
Additionally, because Threads is linked to Instagram, once a profile has been created, the only way to truly delete it is to also delete your Instagram account. Fortunately, there is a deactivation feature available for anyone who regrets joining in the initial hype. Meta also doesn’t have the best track record with launching standalone apps (i.e., IGTV), leading some to be wary of joining right away.
The user interface of Threads looks eerily similar to Twitter, making it second nature for users familiar with the bird app to interact with and share content. Core engagement features, such as like, quote and follow, also exist on Threads. However, the newest social network allows users to publish posts up to 500 characters in length, and include up to 10 images and videos up to 5 minutes long, all exceeding Twitter’s current limitations for unpaid accounts. Unlike Twitter, Threads currently has no direct message or content search feature and does not use hashtags.
As with all other social media platforms, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to a social media strategy for Threads. Early adopters certainly have an advantage in gaining traction and increasing engagement as others pause to consider whether or not another social network makes sense. If your brand uses Twitter as a primary platform and has a large follower base on Instagram, adopting Threads could be the move.
If you’re in need of assistance managing your company’s social media presence, connect with us to see how we can help!