Review: “Twitter Killer” Threads officially launched. How does it perform?

"Twitter Killer" Threads launched. How well does it perform?

Original author: Jaleel, Jack, BlockBeats

Mark Zuckerberg, the well-known name in the global social media industry, once overturned people’s traditional social methods, moving people’s social gatherings from real-life parties to the internet, always committed to breaking Twitter’s dominance and shaping a new center for public online conversations. Although Twitter’s influence stubbornly maintains its irreplaceable position, this has not stopped Zuckerberg’s ambition.

On July 6th, Threads was officially launched. This is a new application launched by Meta after Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, directly targeting Twitter. Threads not only named one of Twitter’s functions as a competitor, but also emphasized public conversations, which is extremely similar to Twitter, and some technicians in the tech industry even call it a “Twitter killer.”

Threads is developed based on Instagram users and combines elements of Instagram and Twitter. Users can follow the people they have already followed on Instagram. At a company-wide meeting last month, Meta executives shared that Instagram Threads will integrate with the decentralized social media protocol ActivityPub based on Mastodon.

The official and brief description of Threads on the App Store is: Threads is the place where the community gathers to discuss all the content from the topics you care about today to tomorrow’s trends. No matter what you are interested in, you can follow and directly contact your favorite creators and other people who like the same things, or establish your own loyal followers, and share your ideas, opinions, and creativity with the world.

After Threads was released, it was quickly available for global users to register and download on Apple’s App Store. BlockBeats conducted an evaluation and experience on Threads at the first time it went live.

Threads evaluation: How does it perform?

Before it was officially launched, the application photo preview displayed in the Apple App Store made many users guess that they could log in to Threads using their Instagram account. At the same time, Threads uses ActivityPub, a decentralized social media protocol, which is also used by Mastodon. This also means that Threads’ content may be available on multiple servers, and Instagram’s username, followers, and other account information can also be automatically moved to the new Threads application according to the user’s needs.

1. Download the application

Users who pre-ordered Threads for download on July 4th can directly open Threads from the Apple App Store. After entering the page, if the user has installed Instagram, Threads will automatically recognize the user’s Ins account and provide a one-click login to the Ins account.

2. Account Settings

After selecting your Instagram account to login, enter the user homepage editing page. Here, users cannot change their usernames, and Threads is synced directly through the Instagram account. Then, set up your personal signature and personal link, or choose to import them directly from Instagram.

Click to continue to the privacy settings page. Similar to Instagram, users can choose to make their main page public or private.

Next is following Instagram accounts. Threads will sync the accounts that users follow on Instagram, which users can then choose whether to follow again on Threads. After completing this, you will be taken to the Threads operating page. After reading this, you can enter the application homepage.

3. Main Page Browsing and Interactive Responses

The Threads main page browsing interface is not much different from Twitter. Each Thread only shows the first post, and below a Thread with multiple replies, three overlapping avatars will be displayed. Click on a thread to view other users’ comments.

The method of interaction is also the same as Twitter, but it adds the interaction function with Instagram. Click on the share button which looks like “Telegram Feixin”, and you can choose to share the Thread to your Instagram dynamic stream, or choose to publish it on your Instagram in the form of a Story. On the “Dynamic” page, you can view other users’ interactive messages with you.

4. Privacy Settings

Some privacy settings on Instagram can be copied to Threads. Customized restriction words have also been added, so users can choose not to see specific content on Threads.

“Twitter Killer” Launches at the Right Time

As a veteran who has been in the business world for 20 years, Zuckerberg’s timing was very precise when he made his move. Twitter is currently undergoing a new round of turbulence.

We all know that since Musk bought Twitter last year to help it turn a profit, it has had to make a series of policy changes, such as modifying the algorithm that determines which tweets are the most prominent, abolishing content audit rules that prohibit certain types of tweets, and thoroughly revising the process for verifying user identities.

Last weekend, Musk imposed reading restrictions on Twitter users: verified accounts can read up to 10,000 tweets per day, unverified accounts can read 1,000, and new unverified accounts can read 500 (this number has increased slightly due to increased frequency restrictions). Musk explained that the restrictions are meant to resist other companies from obtaining Twitter data through “scraping” processes. However, faced with such restrictions, many Twitter users are not buying his explanation and feel frustrated and dissatisfied. Tags and search terms such as “GoodBye Twitter” and “RIP Twitter” have appeared frequently, and some users have even begun to look for alternatives to Twitter.

On July 2, due to Elon Musk’s limited flow policy, Bluesky, the social protocol sponsored by Jack Dorsey, had a “record-breaking flow” in history. Eugen Rochko, the founder and CEO of the city-state social network Mastodon, also shared data from last weekend, showing that the number of active users of Mastodon increased by 294,000, and the amount of activities posted increased by about twice.

Obviously, Bluesky and Mastodon cannot fully accommodate the “refugees” who fled from Twitter, and a big gap has been torn open in the social track occupied by Twitter. Therefore, at this opportune moment, Zuckerberg decisively launched Threads, trying to invade and fill this gap.

Threads, which was launched at this clever time point, was actually in Meta’s plan last year.

According to some previous reports, Meta’s executives began to discuss how to use this chaos to win a larger market share for Meta, such as establishing a competitive service for competitors, which gave birth to Threads.

Preliminary observations show that Threads is indeed positioned as such. At least for now, it does not limit the amount of reading for users like Twitter.

This is a project derived from Instagram, with an internal code name of Project 92. Before it was officially launched, according to the application photo preview displayed in the Apple App Store, many users guessed that they could use their Instagram account to log in to Threads. Therefore, Threads will probably attract existing Instagram users, new users seeking different social media experiences, and “refugees” fleeing from Twitter.

Interestingly, Meta’s chief product officer Chris Cox said that Threads was inspired by users because they wanted a “sanely run” social media platform, which seems to be a satire of Musk.

Obviously, Musk also noticed this ridicule and made a sarcastic counterattack of “Thank God they run so sensibly”.

However, many users and community members seem to be skeptical of Threads’ professional “sanely run” and question whether “sanely run” implies that the application will collect all of the user’s data. In the iOS version, Twitter collects 7 data points, and Threads collects 14 data points.

In 2018, Facebook experienced a high-profile user data leak. A former Cambridge Analytica employee exposed insider information about Facebook data being abused. Facebook had to apologize for the illegal collection of data, and Zuckerberg attended a two-day, 10-hour hearing in the United States. Ultimately, in July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission announced that Facebook must pay a $5 billion fine for violating privacy regulations.

This scandal has raised public concerns about social media leaking personal privacy, to the point where someone started a “#DeleteFacebook” movement on Twitter. Companies led by Musk, such as Tesla and SpaceX, also participated in the “uninstall Facebook” movement and deleted their Facebook accounts. “Facebook makes me sick,” Musk publicly stated on Twitter.

Moving on to the recent events, on May 22nd, Meta was fined $1.3 billion by the European Union for participating in large-scale surveillance in the United States for 10 years. It was also ordered to stop transferring its data to US servers, marking the largest fine in European Union history.

As for Threads collecting so much user data, it has caused dissatisfaction among many users and community members and has also caught Jack Dorsey’s attention. He posted a screenshot of Threads’ data policy on Twitter, and Musk seems to have responded with “Yea” in a gloating manner.

The “Cage Fighting” History of Zama

The name Threads is named after Twitter’s competitor, and its function seems to be very similar to Twitter. Some technicians even call it the “Twitter Killer.” Zuckerberg’s obsession with Twitter can be traced back to when Twitter was founded. At that time, Zuckerberg proposed to acquire the company, but was rejected.

As for news reports that Zuckerberg plans to compete with Twitter, Musk has been teasing and stimulating him online. A Twitter user warned Musk, reminding him that Zuckerberg has recently been promoting martial arts. “If he is willing, I can have a cage fight with him, haha,” Musk tweeted on Tuesday night.

Zuckerberg, who has been training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, responded the next day on Instagram: “Tell me the place.” Musk then tweeted, “If this is true, I will do it,” and suggested holding the match in Las Vegas. Throughout the night, Musk discussed the possibility of a duel between them on Twitter, including mentioning Zuckerberg’s physical condition being at its peak.

Not only that, according to those who have heard their private complaints, the two have had deep dissatisfaction with each other, and they occasionally attack each other in public over topics such as AI. Musk has been struggling with a lack of funds for years, watching Zuckerberg easily make money with software, while he works hard on electric cars and space rockets, which makes him feel depressed. On the other hand, Zuckerberg is eager to get people’s respect for innovators like Musk.

As the hype between the two escalated, it indirectly strengthened their growing competition for business interests, injecting new vitality into the battle for social media advertising revenue.

Since taking over Twitter at the end of October last year, Musk has faced many challenges in reshaping the company according to his own wishes, including a decrease in advertising spending by some brands, which is partly due to their concerns about the company’s future. In response, Musk said he needed to make large-scale cost cuts, including layoffs, to avoid bankruptcy. Now, he says the company is on track to achieve positive cash flow and has hired a well-known television advertising executive as CEO to improve its relationship with advertisers.

Despite Meta’s bold ambitions in launching Threads, it also faces its own challenges. The Silicon Valley tech giant is investing heavily in the so-called virtual world or immersive digital world. However, given that the concept of this virtual universe is far from mainstream acceptance, its bold investment decisions have inevitably raised many questions.

In recent months, Zuckerberg has also been dealing with a series of issues for Meta, such as cutting company costs and solving the challenge of whether the company has fallen behind in the AI competition. At a staff meeting last month, he tried to unite employees by explaining the company’s layoff decision and Meta’s vision in the field of artificial intelligence, and incorporating these elements into its grand plan for the virtual universe.

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