Q TECH – META, the tech giant owner of applications like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, on Wednesday, advanced the launch of its Threads instant messaging application, aiming to capitalize on the turmoil at Twitter.
“Let’s do this,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Wednesday in a post welcoming users to the site dubbed a “Twitter killer” by some tech analysts. “Welcome to Threads.”
Zuckerberg later on Wednesday wrote on Threads that the new platform had attracted more than 10 million sign ups in the seven hours after it went live.
Meta chief product officer Chris Cox last month told a company event that there was a demand for a “platform that is sanely run”, according to The Verge, prompting Musk to suggest a cage match with Zuckerburg, who has competed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
The Threads app is now available to download for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play online store in over 100 countries, Meta said in a blog post. Threads shares Twitter’s visual aesthetic as a text-based social messaging app in which users can post short messages that others can like, share, and comment upon, according to screenshots of Threads that are available on Apple’s App Store.
People will be able to follow the same Threads accounts that they follow on Instagram and reply to other public posts in a way akin to how people use Twitter.
Although Threads is linked to Instagram, with users able to use their existing Instagram usernames, the messaging service is a separate app that people will need to download.
“Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow,” Instagram said in a description of Threads on the Apple App Store. “Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things — or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.”
Meta said that it developed Threads “with tools to enable positive, productive conversations,” and people will be able to manage who is mentioning or is replying to them within the app.
“Like on Instagram, you can add hidden words to filter out replies to your threads that contain specific words,” the blog post said. “You can unfollow, block, restrict or report a profile on Threads by tapping the three-dot menu, and any accounts you’ve blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on Threads.”
The release of Threads comes as Twitter has suffered a wave of mishaps under the ownership of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, leaving the popular social messaging app vulnerable to competing apps.
Most recently, Musk said that Twitter users will only be able to see a certain number of Tweets per day in an attempt to deal with “extreme levels of data scraping” and “system manipulation” on the messaging service.
BlueSky, a rival social messaging app that is backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, said that it recorded “record-high traffic” after Musk announced the Twitter rate limit, and it temporarily paused sign-ups to deal with the influx of new users, who must currently be invited to use the app.
Like BlueSky, Threads will use decentralized technology that theoretically lets users control and manage their data across other apps that incorporate the same underlying software.