WASHINGTON–More than 10 million people have signed up for Threads, Meta’s Twitter rival, in the first hours of its launch, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday.
The app went live on Apple and Android app stores in 100 countries at 2300 GMT on Wednesday (7am in Manila, Thursday) and will run ad-free for now, but its launch in Europe has been delayed due to issues. of data privacy. .
Threads is the biggest challenge yet for Elon Musk-owned Twitter, which has seen a number of potential competitors emerge, but no one has yet replaced one of the world’s biggest social media platforms, despite its struggles.
“10 million records in seven hours,” Zuckerberg wrote on his official Threads account on Thursday.
The accounts were already active for celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and Hugh Jackman, as well as news outlets like The Washington Post and The Economist.
Zuckerberg also offered Musk a chance: The two are known to be bitter rivals and have offered to fight in a cage match.
In his first tweet in over a decade, Zuckerberg posted a Spiderman meme pointing at Spiderman in an apparent reference to the similarities between Threads.
In Threads, he wrote: “It will take some time, but I think there should be a public chat app with over a billion people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this, but hasn’t succeeded. Hopefully we will.”
Twitter has said it has more than 200 million daily users.
Threads was pitched as a clear spinoff of Instagram, which offers an integrated audience of more than two billion users, sparing the new platform the challenge of starting from scratch.
Instagram boss Adam Mosseri told users that Threads intended to build “an open and friendly platform for conversations.”
“The best thing you can do if you want that too is be nice,” he said.
Zuckerberg is known to be taking advantage of Musk’s chaotic ownership of Twitter to launch the new product, which Meta hopes will become the go-to platform for celebrities, businesses and politicians.
“It’s as simple as that: If an Instagrammer with a large following like Kardashian, Bieber or Messi starts posting to Threads regularly, a new platform could quickly thrive,” said strategic financial analyst Brian Wieser at Substack.
Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Engberg said Threads only needs one in four monthly Instagram users “to make it as big as Twitter.”
“Twitter users are desperate for an alternative, and Musk has given Zuckerberg a chance,” he added.
Under Musk, Twitter has seen content moderation pared to a bare minimum with glitches and rash decisions scaring off celebrities and major advertisers.
It has angered Twitter’s most devoted fans by declaring that access to its TweetDeck product, which allows users to view a rapid stream of tweets at once, would be for paying customers only.
EU ‘many months’ away
Meta also has its legion of critics, especially in Europe, which could slow the growth of Threads.
The company has come under fire for its handling of personal data, the essential ingredient in the targeted ads that help it turn billions of dollars in profit.
Mosseri said he was sorry the launch was delayed in the European Union, but had Meta waited for regulatory clarity from Brussels, Threads would have been “many, many, many months away.”
“I was worried that our window would close, because time is important,” he told the Platformer technology news site.
According to a source close to the matter, Meta was wary of a new law called the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which sets strict rules for the world’s “gatekeeper” internet companies.
One rule prevents platforms from moving user data between products, as might be the case between Threads and Instagram.
Meta was caught doing exactly that after it bought WhatsApp, and European regulators will be on high alert to make sure it doesn’t do it illegally with Threads.
Globally, the Threads hashtag on Twitter has garnered more than a million tweets, with many jokingly suggesting that people will return to Musk’s platform.
“10 minutes on the thread app. Me coming back to Twitter,” wrote one user, sharing a video of a man running.
Others expressed concerns about privacy.
“Meta loves to collect private information and I don’t trust the way it treats private information,” one Japanese user tweeted.
“I also get the impression that this is a company hated by the EU, so I am reluctant.”
But some said they would move to Threads permanently.
One Threads user wrote: “Now I can say goodbye to Twitter forever.”
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