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In case you missed it, Meta officially launched Threads in 100 countries last Wednesday. In under a week, over 100 million users joined the platform—overtaking ChatGPT to make Threads the fastest-growing online platform in history!

What is it?

In short, Threads is Meta’s answer to Twitter: “An app built by the Instagram team for sharing with text.” 

With Instagram usernames and verification carrying over and the option to carry over or customize your platform and follower list specifically for Threads, the easy one-button setup has encouraged the boom in sign-ups. It has also allowed Threads to blast ahead of other potential Twitter competitors like Mastodon and Bluesky.

How does it compare to Twitter?

You must have an Instagram account to sign up for Threads. While you can deactivate your account, you cannot delete Threads without also deleting your Instagram account. 

The app is not currently available in the EU based on privacy standard concerns by Meta. While you can view content on desktop, the engagement experience is mobile only for now.

Threads is currently free, unlike Twitter which gates certain functionality based on “Twitter Blue” subscription tiers. Threads has a 500-character limit compared to unverified Twitter users’ limit of 280. Videos can be up to five minutes long vs. Twitter’s two minutes and twenty seconds. Threads does not allow for editing at this time.

Threads exists as part of a Fediverse, a shared platform among the Meta apps, creating an “ecosystem” that allows for easy cross-platform sharing and added integration with other apps like Mastodon. Twitter maintains a unique, standalone platform.

Unlike Twitter, Threads does not display posts in real-time, opting for an algorithm similar to Facebook and Instagram. It also does not allow for a following feed, instead including content from users you don’t yet follow. Threads does not allow for direct messaging, but this can be overcome using linked Instagram accounts.

While “Threads” continues to trend on Twitter, Threads is currently missing hashtag and trending topic functionality. We expect this will roll out in the near future. There’s also talk of an auto-archiving feature after 30 days, which would encourage more candid conversations between users.

Unlike Twitter, hard news and political content will not be promoted on Threads—a significant differentiator that should come as no surprise in Canada, given Meta’s stance on Bill C-18.

What to expect?

Ads are not yet available, but you can bet they’ll be implemented in the future using pre-existing data from other Meta platforms like Instagram and Facebook to enable robust targeting capabilities that equivalent net-new platforms may struggle to provide.

Twitter has filed a lawsuit against Meta alleging the use of trade secrets and intellectual property infringement, which will be interesting to watch.

Notable brands that have joined the platform: The Hollywood Reporter and Netflix (given early access to the app in beta), Spotify, HGTV, Fenty Beauty, Maybelline, Sephora, Gymshark, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Anthropologie and more. According to Digiday, marketers so far are describing the experience “like being in a chaotic group chat, where no one knows what’s going on, how to use it or what to say—but they’re here for it all.”

Things to keep in mind when it comes to privacy:

As with Instagram and Twitter, you can make your account public or private and specify who can react or comment on your content. Everyone under 16 will be defaulted to a private profile. Existing Instagram content guidelines will apply to Threads.

According to online privacy expert Mark Weinstein via CBC News: “Similar to Meta’s other products like Facebook and Instagram, it appears that Threads will earn revenue via data harvesting and surveillance capitalism.” Per Meta’s privacy policy, Threads could collect and share a wide range of personal information, including health, financial, contacts, browsing and search history, location data, purchases and other “sensitive information” (which could include race, sexual orientation and religion). Some of these settings can be managed within the profile section of the app.

You can catch Media Profile on Threads sharing our latest and greatest now—and generally testing things out. Will you join us?

Andrea Morassutti

Director of Digital Strategy

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