Threads vs Twitter: Here are 11 major differences between the microblogging platforms

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
The most comprehensive differences between Twitter and Threads
Image source: Fisayo Fosudo

Threads by Instagram has been hailed by many of the next digital space where the world will gather to break bread or if they can, break heads. Already, just barely 24 hours after it went live on the app stores, some 30 million users have signed up for the platform, reuniting with their internet acquaintances, following their faves, and staying up all night thread-ing.

Though Instagram launched an app named Threads in 2019, which it shuttered at the end of 2021, that app was a standalone messaging app, a kind of Facebook messenger for Instagram. Now in its current reincarnation, this new product is a microblogging platform by Instagram, borrowing many functions and similarities in interface from Twitter.

For many, it offers an alternative to Twitter, which some users have termed persona non grata since Elon Musk bought the company that he had described as “the defacto town square” and rolled out a series of restrictions on Twitter core features including the numbers of tweets a user can see per day.

But even as Threads has gained massive appeal, in its current state, it barely competes with the features that users loved about Twitter which they hope they will get on Threads.

See below the comprehensive list of all the functions Twitter has that Threads doesn’t yet have:

Read also: Meta officially launches Threads to fuel social media wars

No DMs

Unlike Twitter, Threads is not yet for those looking to slide into DMs. Currently, the app which users join through their Instagram account has no DM feature. This has left users looking to continue conversations in a private space in limbo or run back to Instagram which is connected to the app for their private chat. It also tramples the business model of retail companies that would have otherwise asked prospective customers to “DM for price.”

But for some users, this offers an opportunity for a fresh start. The tech YouTuber Fisayo Fosudo who is not in favour of DMs coming to the platform posted that “I don’t think threads should have DMs. What do you think?” The post has gotten over one thousand likes and 800 plus replies.

No web version of Threads

While users can view links to Threads on the web, and click on profiles, they can’t currently fully engage with posts on Threads. They can’t follow accounts or reply or like comment on the platform. Threads for Web also doesn’t yet have a feature that will allow users to sign into their accounts. This is in stark contrast with Twitter where users can operate the app fully via the web version.

No delete account option

Currently, it is impossible for users to delete their Threads account without deleting their Instagram accounts. However, they can deactivate their Threads account, which doesn’t delete it from Meta’s database but makes the account invisible to users on the platform. Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri said that the company is working on a feature that allows users to delete their Threads without deleting their accounts.

“To clarify, you can deactivate your Threads account, which hides your Threads profile and content, you can set your profile to private, and you can delete individual threads posts – all without deleting your Instagram account. Threads is powered by Instagram, so right now it’s just one account, but we’re looking into a way to delete your Threads account separately,”

Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri

500 characters max

On Threads, users don’t have unlimited characters to play with. But they sure have more lead way than Twitter users with 500 characters max per post. On Twitter, users who don’t subscribe to Twitter Blue for 8 dollars per month can only play with 280 characters. This has led to a rise already of “perspire to aspire” gospels on the platform.

No search. No trend table. No tabs

Twitter has been popular in part because users can easily search for key works and find what they are looking for, with Google-like precision. But on Threads, so far, there aren’t keyword search functions. This means that users can’t search for trends they want to jump on and follow tabs they like. Threads is also missing a trend table where users can see what other people on the platform are talking about. However, users can search for people or other users on the platform

No Hashtags

Some users have been trying to use hashtags to increase their visibility on the platform. But Threads doesn’t yet have a function that allows users to click through hashtags and see what is happening. On Twitter, hashtags have been used to start movements (EndSARS, Obedient etc) and find people with similar interests (BBNaija).

Only algorithm-generated TL

Users can’t decide the type of content they want to see on the platform. It is solely generated by Meta’s algorithms. This means that the timeline is filled with accounts users don’t follow, from GistLover to the arch-nemesis of the famous gossip blog Bobrisky. However, Instagram CEO has said that the company is working on rolling out an option to allow users to tailor their timelines to their tastes and interest. Meanwhile, a quick fix will be to mute the account

Not in the EU yet

While Threads is now live in over 100 countries, it’s not yet available for users in the European Union due to privacy concerns. But Instagram CEO said that the plan is to have it available on these regions soon.

“The complexities with complying with some of the laws coming into effect next year are significant. We don’t want to launch anything that isn’t forward-compatible with what we know and what we think is coming. It’s just going to take longer to make sure not only that it’s compliant but that any claims we make about how we’ve implemented compliance stand up to our very high set of documentation and testing centres internally,” he told The Verge.

No nudity

Keeping with Meta’s brand, Threads by Instagram doesn’t currently allow nudity, which is one of the hallmarks of Twitter. OnlyFans’ X-rated creators looking to share their content and interact with their fans have for years favoured Twitter because it permits them to post trailers to their content. On Threads, however, those kinds of content are not allowed.

5 minutes video limit

Unlike Twitter which has a 2:20 minutes limit on videos that can be posted on the platform, Threads takes the number higher to over 5 minutes videos. Already users have been playing with the feature and posting long videos to the platform. However, they have to watch it from start to finish as it doesn’t have a feature to fast forward.

No media section and pictures can’t be saved

On Threads, unlike Twitter where images can be saved, pictures can’t be saved. However, users can always take screenshots of an image that they fancy. It also doesn’t have a media section in users’ profile. This means that users can’t scroll through media only without seeing other posts.

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