It was less than a month ago that Threads, Meta’s text-based answer to Twitter, reported over 100 million users* within days of its release. It seemed an exciting moment, and something would give Twitter a thing or two to think about.
Last weekend, though, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg confirmed that users of the site had fallen by more than half within its first month. Zuckerburg tried to put a positive spin on the site’s rapid decline in popularity, drawing attention to the huge number of early sign-ups and saying that “ideally it would be awesome” to have half of that original figure still on board, but that this was not the case.
Of course, since the introduction of Threads, Twitter has changed its logo and started rebranding itself as ‘X’ in a move that has baffled and irritated many. Despite Twitter/X owner Elon Musk claiming monthly user numbers are growing by tweeting an unlabelled graph, a look through Google News suggests most commentators are critical of the rebrand. Despite turbulent times at Twitter though, it looks increasingly like competition from Threads is tailing off.
One of the main criticisms of Threads upon its release was to do with its limited functionality. Some users were unhappy that they were seeing algorithm-generated posts on their feed rather than ones from accounts they followed, that it wasn’t desktop computer friendly and that the platform had no search facility.
Other curious users remarked that Threads was almost identical to Twitter. This suggested it was trying to lure in users who liked the Twitter interface but were growing tired of Musk’s constant bombast and tinkering, but other than the ability to view it without signing in, the platform appears to offer little that Twitter doesn’t.
Meta has talked of a list of changes in the pipeline including the ability to edit posts (currently only an option on Twitter to paid subscribers), translation into multiple language and straightforward switching from one Threads account to another, but it also now seems to be pinning its hopes on the introduction of AI chatbots to keep Threads users hooked.
Threads seems likely to continue to lumber on, and disenfranchised ex-Twitter users may find themselves persevering with it, but it looks like the initial excitement is waning and it will not get Musk quaking in his boots. Its use for business purposes also looks limited, at least until it addresses the functionality shortcomings and develops a clearer picture of what its unique selling points are.
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