Meta officially launches Threads to fuel social media wars

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
How does Threads by Instagram compare to Elon Musk's Twitter?

Threads by Meta is here.

Since Elon Musk announced last week that he was scaling back the number of tweets users can view per day, a panic has engulfed social media about the future of the microblogging platform.

Once the favourite channel for communication, clap backs and drags for academia, media and politics insiders, in the past ten months since Musk barged into the company with a literal sink in hand chanting “let it sink in” that he was in charge, the platform has seen a drove for users and advertisers depart.

Competitors, from Bluesky, to Truth Social and Mastodon looking to house Twitter refugees have risen in recent months. But Bluesky’s exclusivity, accepting users only by invite, Clubhouse style, which has become one of its selling points, knocks it out of the race for users looking for a quick fix of banter and peacocking.

Today after Meta entered the race with its Twitter rival, or as American media has termed it “Twitter killer,” Threads by Instagram, the cult of Twitter users that have been protesting Musk’s new role as a type of modern media baron could finally scoff at him and his “defacto town square.”

Threads by Instagram which was briefly available on the web yesterday but is now live on the app stores presents the strongest rival to Twitter so far. For starters, Instagram users will be able to onboard into the platform with little hassle. Twitter has over 450 million monthly active users as of 2022, which pales in comparison with Instagram which has over 2.35 billion monthly active users. According to Zuckerberg, just 4 hours after Threads went live on the app stores, signups have gone above the 5 million mark.

Instagram users will also be able to automatically follow all the accounts they currently follow on threads.

But what seems to even be a bigger selling point is the fediverse integration. The fediverse integration allows users from other web publishing websites, which includes social media websites, to interact with each other through interconnected servers. Threads is already touting the feature which will allow direct interaction with Mastodon and other social media platforms with fediverse integration even though it currently isn’t live yet.

But the troubles that Meta has faced for years with data privacy have also followed it into Threads.

“Information provided about the app’s privacy via mandatory disclosures required on iOS shows the app may collect highly sensitive information about users in order to profile their digital activity — including health and financial data, precise location, browsing history, contacts, search history and other sensitive information,” TechCrunch reports.

This could spell doom for the company among those that have criticised Facebook’s data collection and use policies. But even worse are governments across the world looking to pass sweeping regulations to curtail its power.

In May, Meta was fined a record 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) and ordered to stop transferring data collected from Facebook users in Europe to the United States, as part of its push to crack down on social media companies for violating the European Union data protection rules.

Meta has also branded itself for years as children-friendly. This very brand could pose a threat if it will beat Musk’s Twitter in large part because Twitter is about adults taking time off work to chat publicly with other adults.

But more so, away from being the home of academics, journalists and politicians, Twitter is also the home of adult industry performers. Fans of Onlyfans X-rated content gather in their mentions announcing everything from who does fake orgasms, who only shoots with white stars, to why African pornstars look dirty.

Just like Instagram, users on Threads can’t save pictures. But who needs to save pictures when you can take a screenshot?

Plus Zuckerberg is not shying away from a fight with Musk over social capital, even if it’s just for clickbait articles. Threads looks eerily similar to Twitter with the same like, comment, and repost icons. It even has a share icon that also has a feature that says “tweet,” with the bird icon and all.

But Musk is not here for a cold war if his reputation precedes him. In his battle with the newsletter platform Substack, he has all but blocked previews for links on Twitter to stop users from embedding tweets into their posts.

Read also: 6 things you should know about Elon Musk vs Mark Zuckerberg’s potential cage fight

When Elon Musk a few weeks ago told Zuckerberg that like the good old days he wants “a cage fight” with Zuckerberg, the Threads boss, with years of practice in ju-jitsu responded; “Send me the location.” The location is here. Let the fight begin.

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