More than 10 million people signed up to join Meta’s new Threads app within the first seven hours of its launch on Wednesday, according to company CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Sign-ups to the Twitter alternative surpassed two million inside in the first two hours of its launch, rising to five million in the next two hours and then doubling again to 10 million after seven hours, Zuckerberg wrote on Threads.
For comparison, it took Facebook 852 days, Twitter 780 days and Google 16 days to reach 10 million users, as per industry reports. Threads could pose a serious threat to Twitter, which has been plagued by technical issues and unpopular changes in recent months, experts say.
Meta releases Threads
Meta began the rollout of its new social media application in the United States yesterday. The app, which is texted-based like Twitter, is expected to expand to other regions of the world by the weekend. Meta has been planning to release Threads for months.
Threads’ success may be partly because of its links to Instagram. Unlike other Twitter rivals, Threads allows users to sign up with their Instagram account, making the sign-up process much simpler than Mastodon’s difficult process or Bluesky’s invite-only system.
Existing Instagram users have the option to “follow all” of their Instagram followers when they sign up. Threads allows people to create text-based posts of up to 500 characters, share photos, and videos that are five minutes long.
Users can access the new social network platform from its desktop site at Threads.net or by downloading the app for iOS and Android. Celebrities such as chef Gordon Ramsay and pop star Shakira have already joined Threads.
“Threads is Meta’s first app envisioned to be compatible with an open social networking protocol,” said Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, as reported by the Verge.
“We hope that by joining this fast-growing ecosystem of interoperable services, Threads will help people find their community, no matter what app they use,” he added.
Twitter’s Elon Musk reacts
Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who has recently been critical of Meta and Zuckerberg, took a jab at Threads’ launch by insinuating that the app was a carbon copy of Twitter’s design.
“It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram,” Musk tweeted.
It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2023
Instagram’s Adam Mosseri said that Twitter’s recent instability and “unpredictability” under Musk gave Instagram a chance to enter the market. However, he also believes “it would be a mistake to underestimate both Twitter and Elon.”
“I do think there’s a lot more noise around Twitter than there was. Just the volatility and the unpredictability of what seemed to be going on there seemed like it might present an opportunity,” he told the Verge.
Threads poses threat to Twitter
The launch of Threads comes at a time when Twitter is facing a lot of criticism. Recently, the social media giant imposed several new restrictions on users, including a temporary rate limit that prevents unverified users from seeing more than 600 posts per day.
For unverified accounts, the restriction is harsher, allowing for just 300 posts per day. Twitter also blocked logged-out users from viewing tweets on the site, but later reversed this change. Additionally, Twitter created a new version of TweetDeck that requires a verified subscription.
Observers say all these challenges play to Threads’ favor.
“After all of five minutes on Threads, you get the feeling Twitter is done for,” Jukka Väänänen, CEO of the UK newswire Newspage, said. “It’s text-based but doesn’t really feel it. It’s modern and multi-media, a sans serif to Twitter’s serif font.”
“If you’re on Instagram, getting onto Threads is a doddle. It’s both seamless and slick. Switch quickly between the Threads and Twitter apps on your mobile phone and the latter feels legacy, sepia-tinted,” Väänänen added.
Mark Zuckerberg sought to underplay the threat though. Responding to a question about the potential of Threads becoming bigger than Twitter, he said:
“It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”
Shares of Meta Platforms Inc rose about 3% to $294.37 after the news, according to Yahoo Finance. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has touched a high of $298.12 and a low of $88.09.