Meta Unveils ‘Threads’, an Instagram-Powered, Text-Based Social App Set to Rival Twitter

TL;DR: Meta launches ‘Threads’, a new social app developed by Instagram which has garnered over 30 million users in the first 17 hours. The platform will enable text sharing and public conversation. Using their Instagram accounts, users can post up to 500-character messages, along with photos and videos. The company has plans to make Threads compatible with open social networks, offering a decentralized approach to social media.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta has rolled out ‘Threads’, a new, text-based social media app designed to reinvigorate public conversations. The app is the brainchild of Instagram, the popular photo-sharing network acquired by Meta over a decade ago, and is aimed at augmenting Instagram’s reach through a text-based communication platform.

Threads is positioned as an alternative to Twitter, bolstering the rivalry between Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, Twitter’s owner. The app aims to leverage the substantial user base of Instagram, which stands at over two billion monthly active users, to establish its footprint.

At its core, Threads aims to allow users to engage in real-time updates and open discussions, akin to a more conventional social media platform. However, it brings the visually-appealing DNA of Instagram, supplementing the textual content with photos and videos. Posts on Threads can stretch up to 500 characters and can accommodate videos up to 5 minutes in length.

Signing up for Threads is seamless, requiring only an existing Instagram account. The platform ensures continuity, allowing users to carry over their Instagram usernames and verifications, with an option to customize their profile specifically for Threads. Following the aesthetics of Instagram, Threads will provide an opportunity to follow and connect with friends and creators of mutual interests.

Threads’ feature set is designed to keep conversations productive, providing tools to filter out unwanted comments or mentions. The platform will adhere to Instagram’s community guidelines to ensure user safety and maintain content integrity.

Looking ahead, Meta plans to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub, an open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The interoperability would allow Threads to communicate with other applications that support the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress.

By endorsing an open social networking protocol, Threads plans to empower its users with a broader control over their audience. Users can opt to stop using Threads and migrate their content to another service. Conversely, people using compatible applications can follow and interact with people on Threads without having to create a Threads account.

The decentralized approach of Threads echoes the protocols that govern the web and email, signifying a crucial stride towards a future of interconnected online platforms. This represents Meta’s first endeavor to create an app compatible with open social networking protocols.

Meta is launching Threads in over 100 countries for iOS and Android, downloadable from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Moving forward, the company has plans to introduce new features to aid users in discovering threads and creators of their interest.

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