The Zucc is cool again… until it starts selling your data to advertisers.
Four days ago, Meta Platforms launched a spinoff to Instagram called Threads as a way to compete against Musk’s Twitter. Four days after it launched, it was able to accumulate over 100 million users. It got this number easily because users can integrate their existing Instagram account over at Threads, eliminating the need to create a new account entirely (if they have Instagram of course).
In comparison, ChatGPT took two months to reach 100 million while TikTok needed nine months. Instagram required two years to reach that number. It’s not surprising how easily Threads got it. Instagram is already a large and popular platform and having Instagram accounts link over to Threads, including their verification badges, makes signing up very convenient. A smart move for Meta Platforms.
Twitter has around 200 million active users but ever since Musk’s takeover, the company and the social media platform have suffered from technical difficulties, as well as concerns over misinformation as verified badges can now easily be purchased. Also, just recently, Musk is limiting how many users can view tweets per day (600 for free, 6000 for paid users), further damaging the app’s reputation.
The company shared more about this new platform in its blog post. As you can see, Threads looks highly identical to Twitter with each person allowed to send a limited number of text and “repost” (Threads’ version of retweeting) them. Moreover, users can also reply to and like other users’ posts.
As with Twitter, characters are limited (capped at 500 versus 280 on Twitter) and you can send up to 10 photos in one post. It’s currently available on mobile only. You can also create a new thread by tapping the enter key three times.
A user’s verification badge will also carry over to the new app. However, they need to build up their follower counts again.
Twitter Declares War!
Elon Musk, CEO of Twitter, did not respond well to the successful launch of Threads. He sent over a Cease-and-Desist Letter to Mark Zuckerberg, citing that Meta has hired former Twitter employees to access the app’s trade secrets and other confidential information. Twitter is yet to present any factual evidence regarding this. “Competition is fine, cheating is not” Musk replied on the report by Twitter Daily News.
Andy Stone, the communications officer for Meta, has responded via his Threads account stating that no one in Threads’ engineering team is a former Twitter employee.
Both companies have laid off a large number of employees and so former employees of both companies may have crossed paths and shared their knowledge of their former employers to their new ones.
Privacy and Data Concerns
Despite having 100 million users globally, Threads is still not available for European users due to a suspiciously high number of permissions it asks, including a user’s financial and health information. At first glance, these permissions are not necessary as the app has no access to fitness tools or a wallet.
Facebook is also not known for its privacy. Over the years since its foundation, the company is complacent about how it handles users’ data. In 2018 alone, the Facebook app suffered a massive data theft which compromised over 50 million accounts. Attackers were able to exploit a vulnerability in the app’s security. On the day of the breach, Facebook did nothing as it was unaware of the attack, which started in 2017, until a year later. A massive outrage from the public and media scrutiny followed. The attack caused 90 million users to be suddenly logged out from the app, including Messenger. The company later apologized.