What can Threads, the new Twitter competitor, do and what not?


Status: 07/07/2023 11:11 a.m

Some things about Mark Zuckerberg’s new Threads app are reminiscent of rival Twitter. But there are also differences. It could be crucial for success which functions follow.

It’s been dubbed the “Twitter Killer App.” This refers to Threads, the new platform of Mark Zuckerberg’s meta corporation. Threads comes at a time when Twitter seems to be on increasingly shaky ground. But is that enough to oust Twitter in the long term?

At least starting threads is a success for meta. “Wow,” Zuckerberg wrote on his new network – 30 million would have registered with threads in less than 24 hours. But: “We still have a lot to do to further develop the app.”

It doesn’t work without an Instagram account

Thread’s biggest advantage: The app is linked to Meta’s Instagram platform. If you want to use threads, you must also have an Instagram account. Registration will then take a few seconds.

The existing connections can be taken with you – another reason why the app already has so many users. But: According to the first tests, threads can only be completely deleted if Instagram is also deleted.

Similar timeline, no hashtags

Similarities with Twitter: If you know Twitter, threads will seem familiar. The timeline looks pretty similar. Users can publish posts with up to 500 characters. They can also be liked, shared, quoted or commented on. If you want to publish a thread, as the posts are called in the app, you don’t have to make any big changes.

The differences: So far there have been no hashtags for threads. So far, the search cannot be searched for topics, only for users. There are also no trends that show what is currently being discussed particularly intensively. So far, posting can only be done via the app, not in the web browser.

direct messages not possible

“You can hardly use the thing on the laptop,” Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of tech magazine The Verge, told NBC. “Music, GIF, clips: they’re all in one folder on the desktop, not on the phone – but you need that.”

Another difference: Threads should also open to other networks. Threads users should be able to connect with users of apps like Mastodon, for example. Elon Musk has repeatedly blocked links to other networks in recent months.

Threads also do not allow direct messages to be sent. It’s just not finished yet. Twitter is having a lot of trouble right now, so there was obviously a lot of pressure to publish now.

EU users will have to wait

“We were afraid that the time window would close. Timing is important,” said Instagram boss Adam Mosseri in a “New York Times” podcast. Not everything has been clarified in terms of data protection law. That’s why Threads isn’t available in the EU yet.

What does this mean for Twitter now? Its boss Elon Musk should be worried, social media expert Matt Navarra told the BBC. “He should be very concerned, it’s a big challenge for his platform. There hasn’t been one like this before.”

Musk takes the rival seriously

Threads already has many more users than any other Twitter alternative after one day. But it still lacks many features that are important for Twitter users. How meta boss Zuckerberg now develops the app further will be decisive for whether threads can actually displace Twitter.

A letter that a Twitter lawyer is said to have sent to Meta shows that Musk takes the danger posed by threads seriously. In it he threatens to sue, reports the magazine “Semafor”. Meta hired ex-Twitter employees for threads and gained internal knowledge and confidential information from them. Meta denies that.

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