Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg launched Instagram’s much-anticipated Threads platform, giving a blow to rival Elon Musk’s Twitter on Wednesday night.
Zuckerberg posted ‘Let’s do this. Welcome to Threads’ on the app, along with a fire emoji.
Threads, logged five million sign-ups in its first four hours of operation, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as the company seeks to woo users from Elon Musk’s troubled platform through an offer of lengthier posts, a handful of celebrity backers, and a strong resemblance to its competitors.
Threads App is freely available in 100 countries on the Google and Apple App Stores, although regulatory concerns mean it will not be available in the EU. Big brands such as Billboard, HBO, NPR, and Netflix had accounts set up within minutes of launch. Meta said initial celebrity backers included Shakira and Gordon Ramsay, with a recent report suggesting that Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama had also been approached.
Analysts said investors were salivating over the possibility that Threads’ ties to Instagram might give it a built-it user base and advertising apparatus. That could siphon ad dollars from Twitter, whose new CEO is trying to revive the micro-blogging company’s struggling business.
Posts on Threads can be 500 characters long, compared with 280 for most Twitter users, and videos of up to five minutes in length can be posted while a post can be shared as a link on other platforms. Users can unfollow, block, restrict, or report users. Users can also filter out replies with certain words in them.
The launch of the Threads app comes in when Twitter imposed tweet viewing limits at the weekend in a move it blamed partly on data harvesting by companies building artificial intelligence models.
Zuckerberg addressed those challenges. “I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully, we will,” he wrote.