Threads: The new Twitter, or a hopeless wannabe?


From the days of Facebook and 2go, social media has evolved to include several other applications like WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter,  Telegram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, Let’s Chat… on and on goes the list. However, recently, a new app sprung up – Threads.

Threads is a microblogging application which like most other forms of social media, is used to interact, share ideas, opinions and creativity with the world. With a close similitude to Twitter, its features allow for sharing pictures, texts and videos. It was launched on 5th July, 2023 and it is currently available in 100 countries.

The launch of Threads came only a few days after Twitter CEO, Elon Musk placed a restriction on the number of tweets that can be viewed per day by a Twitter user. As though Zuckerberg and his Meta team had been waiting for the opportunity, they swiftly grabbed it and publicized their new app. The launch of Threads was welcomed with mixed reactions. While some netizens saw it as an opportunity to escape the never ending Twitter rules, others saw it as a fruitless venture as they believed the great Twitter could not be replaced by an upcoming wannabe.

In no time, Twitter’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg accusing Meta of hiring former Twitters staff who have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and highly confidential information. The app was found to be quite similar to Twitter and that spurred the letter sent by Alex.

Regardless, although Threads is quite similar to Twitter, it has its own unique features. It can be said to be a continuum of Instagram. A user must have an Instagram application first, the username and verification badge of which is retained, as well as an option to retain Instagram following. A threads account can only be deleted if the user is willing to lose the associated Instagram account.

Threads has been described by its CEO, Rousseau Kazi as the future of social media, as plans are ongoing to make it compatible with ActivityPub, an open social networking protocol. This will give access to people using other applications that support ActivityPub such as Mastodon and WordPress, who do not have a Threads account, to follow and interact with people on Threads and vice versa. There would also be an option to stop using Threads and transfer your following to another of its services.

Threads lacks common social media features like hashtags, direct messaging and trending stories, at least for now. It has been described as an application that prioritizes public dialogues and positive conversations. This is evidenced by the feature to post 500 characters of text and 5 minutes of video at a time, as well as the ability for users to control their mentions and replies.

Perhaps another unique thing about Threads is its privacy agreement. The release of Threads in the European Union has been postponed amidst controversies about how the app will use personal data. This is because currently, the app’s data privacy guidelines allows it to collect sensitive user information and forward them to third parties. Of course, since most people do not bother to read the privacy agreements before agreeing, it is no surprise that they may not have noticed it.

Although several Twitter users had sworn that Threads would replace Twitter and put an end to the tyranny of Elon Musk, a number of them have been seen to switch back to Twitter after the “initial gra-gra” died down. Regardless, Threads currently boasts of about a hundred million users, albeit the activity of said users is said to be dropping significantly by the day. While some have replaced Twitter with Threads, others are using both simultaneously. Whatever the case may be, and while we await the conclusion of all the controversies, we do know that just like WhatsApp has a sibling – Telegram, Twitter now has Threads.

If you have tried the Threads app, feel free to share your views in the comments.

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