Posts on Threads can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length (Picture: Unsplash)
Facebook owner Meta has launched their new app to rival Twitter, after announcing it earlier this week.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the initial version of Threads on Thursday, calling it an app built for ‘sharing with text’.
At first glance, the app features an unmistakable Twitter-like feed in Instagram’s signature design.
‘Threads offers a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations,’ said Mr Zuckerberg in an announcement.
With Threads, Meta is also trying its hand at a ‘decentralised’ approach like many Twitter alternatives.
‘We are working toward making Threads compatible with the open, interoperable social networks that we believe can shape the future of the internet,’ said Zuckerberg.
This sounds a lot like the ‘digital town square’ that Elon Musk once described Twitter as when he bought the social media platform.
Meta’s launch comes at a time when Twitter is weathering yet another storm by by limiting tweets and making users unhappy.
Unlike other potential Twitter alternatives like Mastodon, Bluesky or Hive, Threads has the advantage of nearly 2.35 billion monthly active Instagram users who will be nudged towards the new app.
After the initial announcement, social media users touted Threads to be a ‘Twitter killer’, with the growing discontent on the bird app.
For creators familiar with Meta’s ecosystem, it’s a no-brainer to try to grow their following on this new app rather than start from scratch.
However, Instagram is primarily a visual app, so it remains to be seen if creators will want to use a text-based platform.
How to get started with Threads
At first glance, the app features a Twitter-like feed packaged in Instagram’s signature design (Picture: Meta)
You can simply use your Instagram account to log in. Your Instagram username and verification will carry over, with the option to customise your profile specifically for Threads.
Similar to Instagram, with Threads, you can follow and connect with friends and creators who share your interests, including those you follow on Instagram and beyond.
Posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to five minutes. You can share a Threads post to your Instagram story or share your post as a link on any other platform you choose.
In addition, core accessibility features available on Instagram, such as screen reader support and AI-generated image descriptions, are also enabled on Threads.
Safety and privacy on Threads
You can share a Threads post to your Instagram story, or share your post as a link on any other platform you choose (Picture: Meta)
In the UK, everyone under 18 (16 in some countries) will have a private profile by default when they join Threads.
You can also choose to follow the same accounts you do on Instagram. According to Meta, your feed on Threads includes threads posted by people you follow and recommended content from new creators.
You can control who can mention you or reply to you within Threads. Like on Instagram, you can add hidden words to filter out replies to your threads that contain specific words.
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 tech giant said it is taking safety ‘seriously’ and enforcing Instagram’s Community Guidelines on content and interactions in the app.
Meta’s first ‘decentralised’ app
Threads is Meta’s attempt at decentralisation, an approach it said will ‘play an important role in the future of online platforms’.
This is a significant departure from the company’s current business model. Meta’s current apps, such as Facebook and Instagram, are centralised, meaning that they are owned and operated by Meta, giving the company a great deal of control over the data that users share on these platforms.
A decentralised app, on the other hand, would give user more control over their data and how it is used. It would also make it more difficult for Meta to censor content on the platform.
‘Our vision is that people using compatible apps will be able to follow and interact with people on Threads without having a Threads account, and vice versa, ushering in a new era of diverse and interconnected networks,’ said Meta.
Starting today, Threads will be available to users in more than 100 countries for iOS and Android, but cannot currently be used in the EU due to regulatory concerns. It is currently available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.