As Twitter continues to flail about under Elon Musk, all eyes are on the newly launched Instagram Threads as a potential replacement. Meta launched Threads on iOS, Android, and the web on July 5th — a little bit ahead of schedule.
Rumors about the new Meta-owned platform have been swirling for months, with a March report from Platformer revealing the company was “exploring a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates.” In June, Alex Heath leaked the details of a companywide meeting where the app was shown off and shared the first glimpse at Threads.
In an interview about Threads with The Verge, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri explains why the platform wants to take on Twitter. “Obviously, Twitter pioneered the space,” Mosseri says. “And there are a lot of good offerings out there for public conversations. But just given everything that was going on, we thought there was an opportunity to build something that was open and something that was good for the community that was already using Instagram.”
Threads is “Instagram’s text-based conversation app” where “communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow.” The app is closely tied to Instagram, meaning you’ll get to use the same username across both apps as well as quickly follow all of the accounts you’ve been following on Instagram.
People are posting a lot on Threads.
Mark Zuckerberg has been giving regular updates on the number of people joining Threads, last sharing that there have been 30 million sign-ups as of this morning.
It turns out that people are posting.. er, threading.. a lot, too. There have been over 95 million threads posted to date and about 190 million likes given on the app, according to internal Meta data I’ve seen.
This is all moving really fast. The first handful Meta employees were onboarded to Threads on June 18th. There were just under 1,000 beta users as of July 4th, and I was given access to Threads by Meta several hours before public launch yesterday, when there were just under 3,000 users.
Here’s how Twitter’s leadership is responding to Instagram Threads.
“It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.” – Elon Musk, @elonmusk (1), (2).
“We’re often imitated — but the Twitter community can never be duplicated.” – Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino, @lindayacc.
Threads activated more than 30 million profiles overnight.
Screenshot of @elonmusk
Instagram flooded Threads with celebrities and brands at launchScreenshot by Emma Roth / The Verge
If you created an account when Instagram’s Threads app launched last night, one of the first things you might’ve noticed was the sheer number of celebrities, brands, and influencers populating your feed. From Gordon Ramsay to Michael Strahan and Jennifer Lopez, Meta pre-filled its new Twitter competitor with a boatload of well-known users to make the app feel less empty at launch.
While Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram head Adam Mosseri got spots on the app ahead of time, so did big names such as Mark Cuban, Shakira, and Seth Curry. Meta also got influencers like MKBHD, Lauren Godwin, Alan Chikin Chow, and Michael Le on board early, along with brands like Netflix, as well as Warner Bros. Discovery’s Shark Week, Animal Planet, and HGTV.
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So what’s next for Threads? DMs “maybe…”
Now that Instagram Threads has rolled out to the public (that doesn’t live in the EU), Instagram leader Adam Mosseri acknowledged many of the features it’s currently missing, like “search, hashtags, a following feed, graph syncing, fedeverse support, messaging maybe…”
The spelling of fediverse also reminds us that currently, you can’t edit Threads posts. (Or are they tweets? The people will decide.)
Mark Zuckerberg on when Instagram Threads will get ads.
For an example of what success looks like on an Instagram scale, Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that the goal is to get Threads on a “clear path to 1 billion people” before figuring out monetization.
This mirrors what Adam Mosseri said in an interview with Alex Heath, about the “champagne problem” of making money with Threads:
If we are successful, if we make something that lots of people love and keep using, we will, I’m sure, monetize it. And I would be confident that the business model will be ads. Right now, we are not focused on monetization. We’re very, very focused on just trying to make something that people love to use. And then, if we get something to scale, that’ll be a champagne problem.
Instagram’s Threads app already has over 30 million registered accounts.
Meta’s boss made his last update seven hours ago when it was at 10 million, but more than twelve hours after launch, the pace of registrations (which consists of clicking a button three or four times, assuming you already have one of the 2 billion-plus Instagram accounts) for Threads hasn’t slowed down.
The highest registration number I’ve seen so far (visible on the Instagram profile of a linked account) is 26,051,591.
Update (11:19AM ET): Zuckerberg is awake, and the count is now 30 million, and rising.
Threads hits 10 million users.
A very tired Instagram head Adam Mosseri has posted a brief video to announce that a) he hasn’t slept all night and b) 10 million users have signed up to Threads in seven hours. “Lots more to do,” Mosseri says.
Mastodon CEO Eugen Rochko on what Threads means for the fediverse.
Why is Thread’s plan to use the same decentralized protocol (ActivityPub) as Mastodon a “clear victory for our cause,” according to the founder / CEO of Mastodon?
A few of the answers given:
A server you are not signed up with and logged into cannot get your private data or track you across the web.
Unless you use Threads, you will not see any ads from Threads.
even if Threads abandoned ActivityPub down the line, where we would end up is exactly where we are now
Even if you follow or send a message to a Threads user from your Mastodon account, Threads will not be able to collect any of your private information except the message you sent.
It’s worth reading, even if seeing Meta getting ready to plug millions of users into the fediverse has you a bit worried about the future of other Twitter alternatives.
2 million users isn’t cool, you know what’s cool? 5 million users.
Mark Zuckerberg announced Instagram’s Threads app has over 5 million registered accounts already.
Meta unspools ThreadsScreenshot by Jay Peters / The Verge
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In early December, when word first leaked out that Meta was considering new ways to challenge Twitter, I messaged Adam Mosseri.
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Threads already has over 2 million users.
Launching a new social network on the back of one that has over a billion users has its advantages — new user accounts on Threads are already showing registration numbers beyond 2 million just two hours after its launch, which Mark Zuckerberg confirmed with a post.
Before the app opened its doors at 7PM ET, there were fewer than 3,000 registered accounts.
If you’re wondering what your number is — it’s listed on your account on Instagram after you join Threads. The official @TheVerge Threads account is #45,093.
The legend @finkd lives.
Mark Zuckerberg logged in to his rarely-used Twitter account to post a quick joke on the day Instagram launched Threads, an app that is trying to be a lot like Twitter.
Jane Manchun Wong is working on Threads.
The leaker who’s uncovered so many features and unmentioned details in apps like Twitter and Instagram, now works for Meta on its new social platform.
That’s one way to keep her from finding and posting future Threads leaks; congratulations Jane!
The end of an era? Image: wongmjane
Time to… threet?
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri agrees with us that posts on Threads are “kind of” tweets, so maybe we can find a middle ground.
Screenshot by Ruben Salvadori / The Verge
Instagram’s Twitter competitor, Threads, is available nowImage: Meta
Threads, the Twitter competitor created by Meta, has finally arrived after months of rumors, leaks, and a billionaire cage fight challenge between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Now, you can access the new platform from its desktop site at Threads.net or by downloading the app for iOS and Android. (If you’re not seeing it on iOS or get an error, try force quitting the App Store and going back in.)
In an interview about the Threads launch with The Verge’s Alex Heath, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said, “Obviously, Twitter pioneered the space… but just given everything that was going on, we thought there was an opportunity to build something that was open and something that was good for the community that was already using Instagram.”
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Why Instagram is taking on Twitter with ThreadsImage: Meta
While Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are still preparing for a possible cage match, starting today, their two companies are officially battling.
Meta has released Threads, its standalone Twitter competitor that is based on Instagram’s account system. According to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, Twitter’s “volatility” and “unpredictability” under Musk provided the opening to compete. In an interview, Mosseri says that Threads is designed for “public conversations,” a direct reference to how Twitter execs have described the purpose of the service over the years.
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If you didn’t already know Instagram’s Threads app is close to launching, perhaps a post from Adam Mosseri will seal the deal.
Instagram’s Twitter competitor, Threads, briefly went live on the webThe Threads web interface. Screenshot by Tom Warren / The Verge
Instagram’s new Threads app, a Twitter competitor, isn’t supposed to launch until July 6th, but the web interface went live for a few hours today for everyone to explore. It provided an early look at what to expect from the full Threads app that will launch on iOS tomorrow — and presumably Android, too.
Meta briefly made Threads available on the web before pulling profiles offline a few hours later. The Verge was able to access Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s first thread (is that what we call them?!) using the web app, and many other brands and creators including Netflix, Gary Vee, and Instagram.
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Instagram Threads won’t be available in the EU at launch.
The Twitter alternative from Meta appears set to launch on July 6th, but the Irish Independent reports that Ireland’s Data Protection Commission has been in contact with the company about the new product and confirmed the launch won’t extend to the EU “at this point.”
Instagram’s Twitter competitor, Threads, briefly showed up on Google PlayIllustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge
Alessandro Paluzzi, a developer who routinely digs into app code to expose unreleased features, tweeted early this morning that Meta’s Twitter clone, Thread, had been released into the Google Play Store. It appears as though that was a mistake, however, because the app is nowhere to be found now.
Paluzzi included screenshots that showed off some of the UI elements, including the login screen, which lets users sign in with their Instagram accounts, and another screen with a list of their followed accounts from the image and video site so they can choose who to follow on Threads. Check out the screenshots in this gallery:
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