Twitter has been in the news for chaos since Elon Musk took over as CEO last year. The latest introduction of rate limits, which restrict how many tweets users can read, has sparked a new wave of criticism and frustration. Amid such drastic changes, more users are exploring alternative apps. Now, Meta is gearing up to challenge Musk and is likely to launch a rival app to Twitter, called Threads, on Thursday.
Facebook and Instagram owner Meta's Threads is currently available for pre-order on Apple's App Store. Instagram users will be able to retain followers from the app and keep the same username, according to the details on the App Store. Threads is described as a platform "where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what'll be trending tomorrow."
Commenting on the new app, Drew Benvie, CEO of social media consultancy Battenhall, told Reuters that Threads would be a significant threat to Twitter because it's coming from the Meta and Instagram family of apps. "Instagram has 2 billion users compared to around 250 million of Twitter, so it's about ten times bigger already. If only one-in-ten Instagram users try using Threads, it will overtake Twitter in the blink of an eye," he added.
After taking over Twitter, Musk laid off around 80% of staff, rolled out the much-criticised Twitter Blue, constantly went back and forth with changes and reinstated several banned accounts. On Monday, Twitter announced that access to TweetDeck, an app that allows users to monitor several accounts simultaneously, would be limited to verified accounts from next month, as reported by AFP. Although the chaos on Twitter has pushed people to explore alternatives such as Mastodon and Bluesky, they are yet to gain the popularity that other social media apps enjoy.
As Meta currently dominates the social media space, Threads could be a viable alternative to Twitter. But going by some of it recent innovations, it could be anyone's guess. Instagram Reels, which is similar to TikTok, or Stories, often considered a clone of Snapchat, worked well in the recent past. Others features such as video chat service Rooms built into the Facebook Messenger, similar to the popular videoconference app, Zoom, didn't gain the expected popularity.
Could Threads, which looks quite similar to Twitter, might be the one that works as a much-need alternative?