Meta, the parent company of Instagram, on Wednesday, launched Threads, a text-based social networking app that aims to provide users with a fresh alternative to Elon Musk’s Twitter.
Threads is tightly integrated with Instagram, leveraging its user base and features to create a seamless experience.
In this article, we will delve into the various aspects of Threads, including account creation, features, limitations, user statistics, web compatibility, data collection practices, and future plans. Let’s get started.
Note: Not to confuse with the now defunct Instagram’s standalone messaging app Threads.
How to Use Threads
Unfortunately, due to privacy concerns, the app is not currently accessible in European Union countries (EU).
To join Threads, users can easily create an account by logging in with their existing Instagram credentials.
This integration allows for a hassle-free onboarding experience, as it imports your username, name, and settings, such as the block list.
Once logged in through your Instagram account, you can easily follow the same people you already follow on Instagram.
Furthermore, your verification mark from Instagram carries over to Threads, even if you have paid for Meta Verified.
Impressive User Signups
Threads has gained significant traction since its launch, amassing over 30 million signups within just hours, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It was also the top free app in Apple’s App Store as of Thursday morning.
The rapid adoption of this social network reflects growing frustration with the Elon Musk-owned service, as well as users’ eagerness to explore the new text-based network.
At this pace, Threads will easily beat Chatgpt’s record as the fastest-growing app in history.
Limitations on Posting
While Threads provides a platform for expressing your thoughts, it imposes certain limitations. Each post on the app is limited to 500 characters and includes links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length.
Although you can include images and videos (5 min) in your posts, GIFs are not currently supported. Additionally, a Thread post can include up to 10 media items, allowing for a visually engaging experience.
While Threads primarily functions as a mobile app, users can view Thread posts and profiles on the web through specific links. However, full functionality, including posting, is restricted to the mobile app.
Feed Structure and Algorithm
Threads currently lacks a dedicated “Following” feed that exclusively displays posts from accounts you follow.
Instead, the home timeline utilizes an algorithm to curate content, offering a mix of posts from both followed accounts and other users.
Users can discover new content with light post rankings and recommendations, especially when they have not followed a substantial number of accounts yet.
Threads app does not include a direct messaging feature. Instead, Meta encourages users to send messages via Meta‘s other apps.
According to Instagram’s boss, Mosseri, the reason for this is so users don’t have to check an extra inbox. My theory is that it’s to boost Meta’s Messenger app’s engagement.
Towards Decentralization: ActivityPub Support
Threads supports ActivityPub, which makes it compatible with other social networking apps.
This move aims to enable future migration to or from other servers, allowing users to retain their audience and data even if they choose to leave Threads or face potential de-platforming.
Threads, being a newly launched app, still has some features that are currently missing but may be introduced in subsequent updates.
Some notable omissions include the following:
- Dedicated “Following” feed that displays posts exclusively from followed accounts.
- Messaging functionality (DMs).
- Ability to edit posts after publication.
- Inline translation for multilingual users.
- Support for user-generated Alt image text.
- Inclusion of hashtags for enhanced content discoverability.
Data Collection Practices
As Threads is tied to your Instagram account, data collection practices are intertwined with those of Instagram.
Meta asserts that Threads is considered part of your Instagram account, implying that data collected by Instagram applies to Threads as well.
This aspect has raised concerns among users, particularly in light of the privacy labels mentioned in the App Store.
It is crucial for users to review Meta’s privacy policies and terms of service to understand how their data is handled within the Threads ecosystem.
Deactivating your Threads account is possible, but permanent deletion requires Instagram account deletion.
But don’t worry. According to Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, Meta is looking into ways to avoid this.
Meta’s Threads introduces a new text-based social networking experience that capitalizes on Instagram’s established user base and features.
With its seamless account creation process, lack of paid tiers and advertisements, and integration with Instagram’s verification system, Threads offers a unique alternative to Twitter.
Go ahead, try the new Threads app, and let us know what you think.