April 22, 2024

Mark Zuckerberg has long wanted to overthrow Twitter and provide a central venue for public online conversations. Yet Twitter remains stubbornly irreplaceable.

But that hasn’t stopped Mr Zuckerberg.

On Monday, his company Meta (which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) launched a new app aimed squarely at the Twitter space.

The app, called Threads, connects with Instagram, Appears in Apple’s App Store Released on Thursday for users who register to download. The app appears to function a lot like Twitter, emphasizing public conversations and allowing users to follow people they already follow on Instagram. Some technologists are calling the upcoming app a “Twitter killer.”

Zuckerberg’s attack comes as Twitter experiences new turmoil. Since Elon Musk bought the social platform last year, he’s shaken up the service, revamping the algorithm Twitter uses to determine which posts are most prominent, scrapping content moderation rules that ban certain types of tweets and completely reshaping the social network. Modified the verification process for confirming user identity. .

Then over the weekend, Musk imposed a limit on the number of tweets users could read while using the app. He said the move was in response to other companies getting access to Twitter data through a process called “scraping.” Twitter users were soon receiving messages saying they had exceeded a “rate limit,” effectively rendering the app unusable after viewing posts for a short period of time. Many Twitter users were frustrated.

Lou Paskalis, founder and CEO of marketing firm AJL Advisory, said: “If a boss in a multibillion-dollar business is more self-destructive, he’s suspicious of the customers who determine the business’s success. There is resentment, and I have no knowledge of it.” “And ad tech strategy firms,” ​​Mr. Musk said with Twitter.

The recent turmoil at Twitter appears to have given Mr Zuckerberg an opportunity to use Threads.

Since last year, Meta executives have been discussing how to capitalize on Twitter’s turmoil, including building a rival service. “Twitter is in crisis, and Meta needs to restore its mojo,” a Meta employee wrote in an internal post last year, The New York Times reported in December. “Let’s go find their bread and butter.”

This gave birth to Threads, a crash project spun out of Instagram internally codenamed Project 92. Users will be able to log into Threads with their Instagram accounts, according to a photo preview of the app shown in Apple’s App Store.

Meta executives have previously described the app as a “just working” version of the public-facing social network, a not-so-subtle attack on Musk’s eccentricities.

Musk and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But Threads quickly gained traction online, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (Jack Dorsey) tweet screenshot of the application data policy and Mr Musk responded“Yes.”

A Meta spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meta faced its own challenges when launching Threads. The Silicon Valley company has been investing heavily in a shift toward what it calls virtual worlds, or immersive digital worlds. But the move has been questioned given that virtual universes are far from mainstream.

In recent months, Zuckerberg has also slashed costs at Meta and addressed questions about whether the company is falling behind in the AI ​​race. At a staff meeting last month, he sought to unite employees by explaining last year’s mass layoffs and laying out a vision for how Meta’s work in artificial intelligence fits into its Metaverse plans.

Despite these challenges, Meta remains Twitter’s most credible competitor, with deep pockets and more than 3 billion users on Facebook, Instagram or other apps. Other platforms trying to exploit Twitter’s weaknesses — such as Tumblr, Nostr, Spill, Mastodon, and Bluesky — are much smaller than Meta.

“Even though Facebook is in decline, it still has a huge user base,” said AJL Advisory’s Mr Pascales. Its large number of users will make it more likely that the copycat app will “succeed at Twitter’s expense,” he added.

Facebook and Twitter have been at odds for years in their attempts to capture the latest online conversations. In the early days of Twitter, Zuckerberg offered to buy the company, but was rejected. Facebook also made a big push to showcase its live offerings and trending topics at political events and on TV ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Since then, Zuckerberg has focused on things like live video (an area Twitter is also pursuing) and trending hashtags to let users explore topics that are going viral on Facebook and Instagram.

Zuckerberg and Musk could face off in another way: in the ring.

Ultimate Fighting Championship sports franchise president Dana White said the two were discussing the possibility of sparring in mixed martial arts. While a date has yet to be set, tech billionaires have privately told Mr White that they are willing to fight each other, and the contours of an event are taking shape.

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