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Meta's Twitter Competitor, Threads, Launches with Focus on Public Conversations

Mark Zuckerberg is stepping in the digital ring with Twitter by releasing Threads — an app focused on public conversation that doesn't use hashtags or a chronological timeline.

The parent company of Facebook, Meta Platforms, has successfully launched its new social media site, "Threads," with over 5 million sign-ups within a few hours of its release, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The platform's debut was celebrated by Zuckerberg, who posted on Threads, "Just passed 5 million sign-ups in the first four hours..." Earlier, he had announced that the app gained 2 million sign-ups within the first two hours.

Zuckerberg has embraced the notion that Meta's new Twitter-like app would directly compete with Elon Musk's platform, and their friendly rivalry even led to playful banter about settling their differences in a cage match. Musk responded to the launch of Threads with several posts on his own platform, tweeting, "It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram."

In a welcoming post on Threads, Zuckerberg wrote, "Let's do this. Welcome to Threads," as he greeted new users. He also expressed his belief in the need for a public conversations app with over 1 billion users, stating that while Twitter had the opportunity, it had not fully realized it, hoping that Threads would succeed in doing so.

Connor Hayes, Instagram's vice president of products and a key figure in the Threads launch, confirmed that the app was created as a direct competitor to Musk's platform. He remarked that Twitter had been in this space for a while but emphasized the opportunity and the demand for more choices, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Hayes described Threads as an app designed for conversations that promote productivity and positivity.

Despite facing criticism, Meta is determined to secure its position in the social media market and has made aggressive moves to launch Threads ahead of schedule. The decision was influenced by some users' dissatisfaction with Musk's handling of Twitter and recent changes he implemented, such as limiting the number of posts users can see in a 24-hour period, which reportedly expedited Threads' launch.

The new app launched without advertising, as Meta aims to build a substantial user base before prioritizing profitability and revenue, according to reports. Zuckerberg stated that Threads garnered over 10 million sign-ups within its initial hours. However, this figure still falls short of Twitter's user base of over 300 million.

Despite the surge in sign-ups, Threads experienced relatively stable performance, with only sporadic reports of temporary glitches. US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent Twitter user, expressed frustration late Wednesday, posting, "I think my app is bricked. It was just as I hit send on a long post of Queens food recommendations." Other users discussed Threads' terms and conditions, which state that a Threads account can only be fully deleted if the user also deletes their Instagram account.

According to Connor Hayes, many influential users of Instagram have been requesting a text-based app as an alternative to existing platforms. Instagram and Facebook, both owned by Meta, have a track record of emulating products from emerging internet competitors. For example, the Reels feature imitated TikTok's viral video app, and Stories mirrored Snapchat's disappearing posts. Meta's apps have indirectly competed for user attention with Twitter by attracting news publishers, politicians, and other high-profile individuals to favor one platform over the other. However, the release of Threads marks the first time Meta has directly entered the Twitter-like space.

The app will be made available in more than 100 countries to users on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.