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“Threads” by Meta Debuts early, Draws millions of users.

Meta’s Threads app made a surprise early debut, providing billions of users with an alternative to Twitter amid growing frustration with the Elon Musk-owned social media platform. Originally scheduled to be released on July 6 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, Meta decided to move the countdown clock forward to 7 p.m. Eastern Time on July 5. The move generated significant buzz and anticipation among users.

ThreadsWithin hours of its release, Threads garnered tremendous attention, with 10 million people signing up for the service, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. By the following morning, the number of sign-ups had surged to over 20 million, as reported by NBC News, which based its estimation on the number of Threads badges visible on Instagram users’ accounts.

Threads bears a resemblance to Twitter, enabling users to post messages, engage with other users through replies, likes, and reposts. As an added benefit, users of Meta-owned Instagram can seamlessly follow the same accounts on Threads, facilitating the expansion of their follower base.

In an Instagram post following the availability of Threads for download, Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared his vision for the app, stating, “Our vision is to take the best parts of Instagram and create a new experience for text, ideas, and discussing what’s on your mind. I think the world needs this kind of friendly community, and I’m grateful to all of you who are part of Threads from day one.”

Anticipation had been building prior to Threads’ release, with some users on social media dubbing it a “Twitter killer,” as there were expectations that users dissatisfied with the rival platform would migrate to the new app. Frustration had been mounting among certain Twitter users due to recent changes implemented by CEO Elon Musk, who limited the number of tweets nonpaying users can view per day. Additionally, hate speech on Twitter has surged since Musk acquired the platform last year.

“Meta is banking on a moment in time amidst peak Twitter frustration,” remarked Mike Proulx, vice president at tech research company Forrester. Proulx characterized Threads as another instance of Meta’s tendency to introduce services that mimic existing tech tools. Some of these ventures include Slingshot, an instant-messaging app, and IGTV, a video service from Instagram.

Threads positions itself as an Instagram app, emphasizing the ability to “follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things.” While similar to Twitter, Threads may focus more on creators and influencers who are popular on Instagram. The app became available in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store on Wednesday evening.

While Threads enters the market, there are other alternatives to Twitter available. Bluesky, backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, is gaining attention but remains in the testing phase and is not fully open to the public. Access to the invite-only beta can be limited. Meta will also face competition from various other Twitter alternatives such as Mastodon, Post.News, and Hive, potentially fracturing the user base seeking alternatives to Twitter, according to Proulx.



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