Meta has lifted the lid on its new ‘text-based conversation’ app Threads and it looks rather a lot like Twitter — by design.

Logo of meta threads


Threads – which is an extension of the Instagram app – lets users share text posts up to 500 characters in length, as well as links, photos, and five-minute videos. 

Its release – which was scheduled for later this year – is believed to have expedited to capitalize on the chaos at Twitter HQ, where new CEO Elon Musk has been heavily criticized for changing beloved features.

Anyone who already has an Instagram account will be given a Threads account with the same username, although they have to download the Threads app. 

Meta rolled out Threads on Thursday in more than 100 countries for both iOS and Android, including the US, the UK, Canada and Australia. 

Big-name celebrities who have already used Threads as part of Meta’s promotional efforts include chef Gordon Ramsay, pop star Shakira and F1 driver Lando Norris. 

Threads is free, although to get a blue tick next of your name you’ll have to be subscribed to Meta Verified, the £10 per month subscription service. 

Instagram – which was bought by Meta back in 2012 for around $1 billion – has long been a place for users to share photos with a short caption.

But in comparison, Threads – which was built by Instagram engineers – is for sharing text updates and joining public conversations. 

It lets people follow whoever they want and see their posts on a feed, which will also show recommended content from ‘new creators we haven’t discovered yet’ – in other words, people we don’t follow.

Users can also visit someone’s profile page, which is structured very similar to Twitter and other similar social apps such as Hive and Truth Social

On a user’s profile there are three separate tabs that show ‘threads’, ‘replies’ and ‘reposts’ (the equivalent of retweets). 

Users can also add a profile photo and a short bio about themselves to appear under their name and username – again, just like Twitter. 

Instagram and Threads are so closely linked that if users change their username on Instagram, that will be reflected on Threads. 

What’s more, anyone who wants to use Threads needs to have an Instagram account – so there’s no Threads without Instagram. 

Meta says its vision for Threads is ‘to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text’, giving a creative space ‘to express your ideas’. 

‘Just like on Instagram, with Threads you can follow and connect with friends and creators who share your interests – including the people you follow on Instagram and beyond,’ it says. 

‘Whether you’re a creator or a casual poster, Threads offers a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations.’ 

Features that are available on Instagram already, such as AI-generated image descriptions, are also enabled on Threads.

Instagram staff have also built-in similar security protections, such as the ability to filter out replies to your threads that contain specific words. 

Users can unfollow, block, restrict or report a profile on Threads by tapping the three dots next to a particular thread.

Any accounts users have blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on Threads too. 

In the UK, everyone who is under 18 will automatically get a private profile when they join Threads. 

Threads could prove a masterstroke from Meta because it will let users bypass a lot of the effort typically involved in signing up to a new app. 

This is because anyone who already has an Instagram account will be given a Threads account with the same username. 

Instagram already has more than two billion active users worldwide who have already handed over their details for the Instagram sign-up process. 

Rival Twitter, in comparison, which is owned by Elon Musk, has just under 400 million active users, according to analytics firm Demand Sage.

It’s possible Meta has timed the release of Threads to capitalize on recent anger directed at Twitter, which has been putting more and more features behind a paywall. 

Musk revealed at the weekend that users who aren’t subscribed to its £11 per month subscription service Twitter Blue are limited to reading 600 tweets per day – although he later said this would soon increase to 800. 

It sparked the trending hashtag #RIPTwitter and caused ‘delete Twitter’ searches on Google to skyrocket 983 percent in the UK, according to comparison service CasinoAlpha. 

Twitter dropped another bombshell this week when it revealed TweetDeck will only be available to people paying for Twitter Blue in less than a month’s time. 

TweetDeck – a desktop application that displays tweets in columns – was acquired by Twitter for $40 million in 2011 after operating as its own independent application.



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