Here Is Meta’s Twitter Competitor, Threads. Can Musk’s App Be Matched by Zuckerberg’s?

 Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter and a rival billionaire, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg are expected to face off, but perhaps not in the rumoured cage match that the two tech titans have been teasing recently.

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg
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Tech observers believe that Threads, Meta's alleged rival to Twitter in the microblogging social media market, may offer a "killer advantage" that sets it apart from rivals, but some doubt that the Zuckerberg-led programme would perform any better than Musk's initiatives.

On Wednesday night, Threads went live for users in the US, Canada, and more than a hundred other nations. According to the Apple App Store listing, it is described as a "text-based conversation app" that is connected to Instagram and teases a Twitter-like microblogging experience.

“Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow,” says the listing.

Meta's plans to release an app that mimics the Twitter interface come as the platform encounters more and more recent issues and criticisms while being controlled by Musk.

The number of tweets users can view in a day has been restricted, and users must be verified in order to utilise the online dashboard TweetDeck, among other recent modifications that Twitter has implemented.

That comes after Musk made a number of contentious decisions in the name of supporting free speech on the app, which, according to tech expert Carmi Levy, drove away users and advertisers and cast doubt on the platform's survival.

According to Levy, the timing of Meta's debut of Threads as Twitter suffers could be the platform's undoing.

Is Meta capable of surpassing Twitter?

Since Musk's acquisition, other microblogging platforms like Mastodon and Bluesky have witnessed an increase in users, but neither has been able to overtake Twitter's market leadership.

Threads is not the first time Meta has released features that are similar to those of a rival app. For example, Instagram Stories and Reels function quite similarly to SnapChat and TikTok, respectively.

Levy contends, however, that Threads poses a threat to Twitter's dominance that may succeed where others have fallen short in the past.

According to him, the "killer advantage" of Threads is the built-in network that users will have thanks to their Instagram following. Levy thinks that Threads may launch with enough content to get off to a strong start, in contrast to existing platforms that essentially need new users to start from scratch and lack the volume of traffic necessary to maintain user engagement.

Another analyst points out that while ease of use is one thing, it does not ensure a flood of users will download the software.

According to Matt Navarra, a social media industry expert, a large portion of user interest in Threads will depend on how dissatisfied users are with Musk's Twitter.

Although the company's record is not perfect, Navarra claims he believes Meta's success with Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp gives it a strong opportunity to succeed Twitter.

For example, over the past year, investor trust in the company has been impacted by the metaverse initiative's slow adoption. Navarra asserts that it is too early to predict whether Meta's efforts in that sector of the company will ever be profitable.

Professor of technology law Daniel Tsai of the University of Toronto, however, is less optimistic about Meta's current prospects.

He claims that the stuttering start of the metaverse and Meta's subsequent attempt to imitate Twitter demonstrate an effort to "get back in the game" after TikTok recently gained popularity.

Privacy and revenue issues still exist

Many customers' memories of the Cambridge Analytica debacle, in which Facebook users' personal information was gathered and used without their consent, are still very recent, according to Levy. According to him, Meta "plays fast and loose with the rules around our personal data."

According to Navarra, privacy concerns have been Meta's "Achilles heel," but he claims the firm's policies and procedures aren't significantly different from those of TikTok or even Twitter itself.

There is no assurance that Meta will be able to turn its Twitter-like notion into a successful business, Tsai claims, even if potential Threads users see past Meta's history of privacy issues.

Musk has been working hard to turn around Twitter's economy at the same time as Reddit, another text-based website, is also having trouble bringing in consistent income.

Tsai claims that while Meta may have greater funds to invest money in the platform, it won't necessarily turn microblogging around in the long run.

He contends that Threads may wind up becoming the new MySpace rather than the next Twitter.

Levy acknowledges that Meta's timing with Threads, while favourable from a competitive standpoint, may also coincide with the beginning of the end of the huge social media era.

Social media may have experienced its last major surge during the COVID-19 epidemic as individuals signed on to maintain contact as their surroundings went into lockdowns.

Many people are reevaluating whether having so much social media exposure is indeed a positive thing as limits end and most people resume in-person interaction, according to Levy.


“I think now that we’re on the far side of the pandemic, we’re starting to look at social media with a more critical eye. And I think that’s a good thing. It’s healthy for us to question whether the technologies we use are, in fact benefiting us,” he says.

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