The rivalry between tech giant Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Elon Musk is escalating as Zuckerberg launches a new Threads app, The app, aptly named, aims to stitch together the fabric of online communication. The new app will be available to the public starting July 6, 2023 with the launch of Meta countdown website for publishing.
While I’ve just spent some time getting my hands on Threads, its look and feel is strikingly similar to its competitor, Twitter. Let’s take a closer look at what Threads is and how much of a threat it could be to Twitter’s future.
What is a “thread”?
Threads is an app developed by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. Described as a “text-based conversation app,” it links to Instagram, allowing you to follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things. It aims to provide a Twitter-like microblogging experience, where users can post short messages to a wider audience and respond when others post. It also has a feature that lets you keep your Instagram followers on the new service, which can help you build a large follower base quickly.
Will Threads kill Twitter?
Threads is seen as a direct challenge to Twitter, which has faced some recent difficulties, such as weekend outages and a decision to limit access to some non-paying members. Some users called Threads the “Twitter killer” in anticipation that many people would ditch Twitter in favor of the new social media service.
Threads and Twitter
Some of the features that will come with the new Threads app include disappearing messages, read receipts, and integration with Instagram Stories. Judging from the app’s download page (which can be found in the App Store or Google Play store), it appears that the app is free to download and there is no limit to the number of posts a viewer can see. Unlike Twitter, Musk Just rolled out the 600 tweet limit for users who don’t subscribe to Twitter Blue.
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What prompted Meta to launch this new app?
It’s no secret that there has been a long-standing rivalry between Meta and Twitter, with each company constantly trying to one-up the other for users, features, and influence over the years. Some of the back-and-forth has gotten out of hand, like when Zuckerberg and Musk agreed to fight each other in May. However, the fight hasn’t happened yet, and some doubt it will.
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Are there any downsides to threads?
It’s hard to say how many downsides Threads will have since it’s brand new. However, some have raised concerns about how private and secure the app will be for those using it and how much data will be shared. Private data sharing has been a hot topic of concern for many social media platforms, especially Meta, a company with a history of privacy concerns and scandals.
How Threads collects and uses your sensitive data
According to a privacy disclosure for the app on iOS, Threads may collect highly sensitive information about users in order to analyze their digital activity, such as health and financial data, precise location, browsing history, contacts, search history and other sensitive information.
How to Protect Your Privacy When Using Threads
It is important that you understand exactly what information you share with Meta, as they can use this information to track your activities and serve you advertisements. The good thing is that you can choose which categories you want to share with Threads when you first register your app, and if you don’t want to share any categories, you can create a Threads account without sharing any data.
How Threads Still Collects Your Data
However, some data may still be collected by default or by other meta products you use. For example, Threads may collect your device identifiers, usage data, diagnostic information, and other data even if you do not share any categories. Also, if you use Instagram, Facebook, Messenger or WhatsApp, those apps may share data with Threads and vice versa.
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How to control data sharing with apps
Review the prompts and permissions you received when you first set up the app, and make sure to go into your smartphone’s settings and turn off any data you don’t want shared. However, keep in mind that turning off certain data may affect the app’s functionality or performance.
Kurt’s key takeaways
With Threads emerging as a potential competitor to Twitter, the social media landscape is bound to become more intense and competitive. How will Musk and his Twitter team meet this challenge? What new features or innovations will they introduce to attract users? I can’t wait to find out. But for now, I’m curious to explore Threads and see if it lives up to its promise of a more engaging and authentically social experience.
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