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Meta’s would-be "Twitter killer," Threads, is off to the races after a slightly earlier-than-announced debut early Thursday morning—and already, the app is making both impressive strides and concerning new users with its fine print.
Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed, via Threads earlier today, that the app blew past 10 million sign-ups within seven hours of going live. If true, that’s an accomplishment that dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, recent attempts of numerous other Twitter alternatives to amass meaningful user bases. For context, it took Twitter itself over two years to reach 10 million accounts after debuting in 2006 (the Elon Musk-owned site currently has around 350 million users, per Statista).
Differentiating Threads from other social media platforms, however, is the fact that its launch is being shepherded by a mega-corporation that already boasts billions of users across a suite of social media apps.
Threads is officially “an Instagram app,” meaning users can only sign up for the text-based service if they already possess an Instagram account.
Conversely, it means it only takes a click of a button for any of Instagram’s two billion users to create a Threads profile that instantly ports over Instagram followers and other personalized account features.
The fluidity of the relationship between Instagram and Threads has also sparked some controversy.
That nuance—potentially an attempt to tie Threads’ well-being to that of Instagram, an established behemoth—has sparked some frustration and concern among social media users who made accounts before reading the fine print.
This part has me screaming.
You try to delete your threads account and your instagram will get auto deleted too 🌚
I love evil tech minds 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/UZ5s2C9vjJ
— noyá. 🦾 (@codingossy) July 6, 2023
Decrypt reached out to Meta to ask why that policy was put in place and whether it might be reconsidered pending public reception but did not immediately receive a response.
Who’s on Threads?
Already, the Threads ecosystem is teeming with entertainment and technology brands such as Netflix, Marvel, Amazon, and Microsoft; with consumer brands like Ford, Toyota, and Honda (pointedly, Musk-owned Tesla is not on the platform); celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and Stephen Curry; and politicians from both major American political parties including Democratic congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Occasio-Cortez, and Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
Notably, some sectors seem to be avoiding Threads entirely, at least so far.
Major luxury and fashion brands including LVMH-owned brands Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Givenchy, Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, and Yves St. Laurent all have refrained from signing up for Threads at writing, despite all maintaining active Instagram presences.
Major online gaming platforms including Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft are similarly absent from the app.
One key feature carried over from Instagram to Threads is the former app’s verified badge system.
Public figures, organizations, and brands are vetted by a team of Meta employees for authenticity, then designated as such with a blue check mark that cannot be bought or imitated.
Twitter used to feature a similar “blue check” system until Musk removed it and converted it into a controversial subscription service that has since received widespread backlash.