Twitter's fierce competitor Threads grabs 5 million users in a blink | Exhibit Tech
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Twitter’s fierce competitor Threads grabs 5 million users in a blink

Threads, the anticipated rival to Twitter developed by Meta, experienced a staggering surge of five million sign-ups within a mere four hours of its inception, as stated by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In an endeavour to entice users away from Elon Musk’s beleaguered platform, Threads offers an array of distinctive features, including the opportunity for longer posts, support from prominent celebrities, and an uncanny resemblance to its rival.

The parent company of Facebook and Instagram expedited the app’s launch by 15 hours, propelling it into the public sphere at 7 pm EDT in the United States and midnight in the United Kingdom. Threads became readily available in 100 countries through the Apple and Google app stores, albeit with the exception of the European Union due to prevailing regulatory concerns.

As the curtains were drawn on Threads, notable brands such as Billboard, HBO, NPR, and Netflix promptly established their presence on the platform. Meta proudly announced that initial celebrity supporters included renowned personalities like Shakira and Gordon Ramsay, with unconfirmed reports speculating that influential figures such as Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama had also been approached.

To access the application, users must possess an Instagram account, which serves as the gateway for login. Once registered, users have the option to follow the same accounts they currently engage with on Instagram, assuming those accounts have also migrated to the new app. Visually, Threads bears a striking resemblance to Twitter, although certain terminologies have been altered. Retweets are now labelled as “reposts,” and tweets have been rebranded as “threads.”

Unlike the restrictive 280-character limit imposed on most Twitter users, Threads allows for posts of up to 500 characters. Additionally, the platform accommodates videos lasting up to five minutes, and posts can be shared as links on other social media platforms. Users retain control over their interactions, with the ability to unfollow, block, restrict, or report other individuals. Furthermore, users can customise their experience by filtering out replies containing specific words.

Meta’s launch of Threads materialised amidst a tumultuous period for Twitter, which recently imposed viewing limits on tweets due in part to concerns regarding data collection by companies leveraging artificial intelligence models. In subsequent Threads posts, Zuckerberg addressed these challenges, articulating his belief in the necessity of a public conversations app with a user base surpassing one billion individuals. Acknowledging Twitter’s unfulfilled potential in this regard, he expressed hope that Threads would succeed where its counterpart had fallen short.

Reactions to Threads’ debut on Wednesday spanned the spectrum from cautious appraisal to unbridled enthusiasm, with many lauding its user-friendly interface and some conjecturing that Elon Musk ought to be apprehensive. Observers also highlighted the swiftness with which Threads integrated with Instagram, a testament to Meta’s formidable influence. Ironically, much of the ensuing discourse transpired on Twitter itself, where the hashtag “Threads” trended throughout the evening.

Describing Threads as a “new, distinct arena for real-time updates and public conversations,” Meta aspired to amplify the strengths of Instagram and expand them to include text-based content, fostering an environment that encourages positive and creative expression of ideas. Twitter currently boasts a user base exceeding 250 million, while Instagram reportedly commands a staggering two billion users. The race is on to witness which public conversations app will be the first to surpass the coveted milestone of one billion users.

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