With a new app, Meta is competing with Twitter. Instagram today announced the impending release of Threads, a text-based social networking tool. Threads enables Instagram users to publish brief updates, including text up to 500 characters, links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length, after authenticating with their pre-existing credentials.
At launch, Threads is accessible on iOS and Android in 100 nations, but not in the EU, purportedly because of worries about complying with local data privacy laws. The username and verification status of users who log in using their Instagram credentials will be carried across. However, individual Threads profiles can also be altered.
MoneyControl broke the news of the app’s existence in March, and Platformer later verified it. During a meeting with the whole business in June, Meta gave staff a sample of the app. More information regarding the app’s intended feature set and target audience of well-known celebrities, influencers, and artists was revealed in subsequent leaks.
Instagram’s new app will soon support ActivityPub, the same social networking protocol used by open source Twitter rival Mastodon and other federated apps, whereas Jack Dorsey-backed Twitter rival Bluesky has been growing in popularity in recent months by leveraging its own decentralised protocol, the AT Protocol.
When that happens, Threads will be able to reach a wider audience since 1.7 million active users are engaged by Mastodon’s ecosystem. However, it’s unclear precisely when Threads will make this functionality available.
“We’re dedicated to including ActivityPub support into this app, the protocol that powers Mastodon. Given the difficulties that come with a decentralised network, we weren’t able to finish it in time for launch, but it will be available soon, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri promised. “If you’re wondering why this matters, here’s why: you could eventually leave Threads or, ideally, avoid being de-platformed. You need to be able to move your audience to a different server if that ever occurs. Being honest can help with that.
The decision, nevertheless, also pits Threads against other Mastodon clients, such as independent programmes like Ivory and the Mozilla-funded Mammoth. In response to Twitter’s departure, Flipboard, Medium, and WordPress.com owner Automattic have also made investments in the Mastodon ecosystem. However, Meta’s foray into the open, decentralised social network has sparked worries that it intends to use a “embrace, extend, and extinguish” approach to seize control of this developing sector, much like how Google did with web-based email.
Image Credits: Threads
“Instagram for your thoughts”
Though it’s too soon to tell whether Threads will be popular, now is a fantastic moment for Meta to try out microblogging. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Meta has a poor history of creating fruitful standalone applications.
The company has discontinued a number of standalone applications over the years, including Hello, Moves, Paper, Poke, Camera, Home, Slingshot, Rooms, Riff, Bolt, Lifestage, Groups, Stickered, Moments, Notify, Bonfire, Lasso, Novi and others, including Boomerang, Hyperlapse, Direct, IGTV, and Threads from Instagram, as well as nearly all of its internal incubator’s NPE team’s experiments, including BARS.
Users must authenticate using their current Instagram login information before they may view Threads. Their current account information, including name, username, photo, and followers, will then populate the app. The new app will carry over verification as well.
The business hinted to this integration in earlier leaked marketing materials, noting that with “one tap, anyone can follow the accounts they follow on Instagram.” This integration jump-starts sign-ups for Instagram’s new app.
The app’s Instagram integration offers users the added convenience of transferring their Instagram block lists to the app, in addition to fast access to your network. Additionally, it follows the same Community Guidelines as Instagram, making it simpler to know what is allowed and what is not.
In addition to allowing users to post images and videos to Reels, Stories, and Feeds, Instagram has been experimenting with other ways for users to connect. One such experiment was the introduction of “broadcast channels” in February 2023, which allowed creators to communicate more directly with followers by posting text, images, polls, reactions, GIFs, and other types of content in messages inside users’ Instagram inboxes. Since then, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, has used the function to distribute product news.
Image Credits: Threads
Many developers and reverse engineers, including leaker Alessandro Paluzzi, had been looking at Instagram’s code to see how it will function before the new app was released. He discovered that the software would handle 500 characters, which is more than Twitter’s 280 character limit for free users but less than its current 10,000 character limit for paid customers. He later learned Meta was referring to the programme as “an Instagram for your thoughts.”
With an emphasis on high-profile influencers and celebrities, such as actors, producers, writers, directors, showrunners, sports, and comedians, another source, social media expert Matt Navarra, had stated in mid-May that Meta was looking for early adopters to sample a pre-release version app.
Instagram has experimented with text-based updates for social sharing prior to today’s debut. In December of last year, the business unveiled Notes, a feature that allows users to leave quick, 60-character text messages for friends to read above their Instagram DM inbox. In June, capability for music-sharing was added to the feature. Not to add that Instagram once had a standalone app called Threads that resembled Snapchat. It is no longer there.
Privacy challenges on Threads
Some customers discovered that Threads captures a lot of user data when it became available for presale on the App Store a few days before launch. The Threads iOS app may gather information about your health, money, purchases, contacts, usage patterns, browser history, and other sensitive information, according to Apple’s description.
Unfortunately, this data collecting isn’t all that distinctive from that of other significant social media sites, like Twitter, TikTok, Meta’s own Instagram, and Facebook. However, because there are so many applications vying to become the “next Twitter” (if that is even conceivable), consumers have greater freedom to select a platform with less questionable privacy policies. Nevertheless, Threads has an advantage since user Instagram networks will be included.
Because of persistent privacy issues with Meta’s family of applications, Threads won’t be available in the EU at least not right now. According to sources at Meta, the launch was postponed because the Digital Markets Act, which was approved in March, created legal uncertainties around the usage of data. Because the firm was fined $1.3 billion in May for sending user data from the European Union to the United States for processing, Meta has good reason to be weary of this evolving EU regulation.
EU users now have fewer Twitter options to select from. Users now have the option to choose whether they want Meta’s family of applications to occupy an even larger portion of their attention if they already have access to Threads.