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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., speaks during the Oculus Connect 3 event in San Jose, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Facebook Inc. is working on a new virtual reality product that is more advanced than its Samsung Gear VR, but doesn’t require connection to a personal computer, like the Oculus Rift does. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Threads takes on Twitter

Threads takes on Twitter


Meta has launched a new “text based conversation app” that’s a direct challenge to Twitter. Could it bring down the bird?

Meta has launched a new “text based conversation app” that is a direct challenge to Twitter.

According to Instagram boss Adam Mosseri, the company hopes “to bring some of what we’ve built for photos and videos on Instagram to Threads with text”.

The new platform is linked to Instagram, which means usernames, followers and your verification status can all be carried across.  

It is also very similar to Twitter, and with a ready-made community of potential users already on Instagram, it’s the first proper challenger to Twitter at a time when the original text-based conversation app is struggling.

After buying Twitter for $44 billion last year, Elon Musk wasted no time before making significant changes. Since taking over he’s laid off more than 6,000 people which is about 80 per cent of the platform’s workforce.

Musk has also dismantled Twitter’s moderation policies and replaced them with a “free speech” agenda. As a result, more than half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers – including Coca-Cola and Ford – pulled out of the platform, leading to a huge drop in revenue. 

Musk has been trying to find new ways to make money. Users now have to pay to get the blue verified tick and eventually the popular dashboard Tweetdeck will go behind a paywall. 

Last week Musk also placed a limit on how much content some users can view, which he described  as a “temporary emergency measure” to prevent “unauthorised scraping of potentially valuable data” from the platform. Many cyber security experts believe it is a way for Twitter to save money.

It all adds up to a different user experience compared to this time a year ago, which creates an opportunity for a challenger.

Although Threads has now launched in over 100 countries including the US and UK, it’s not available in the European Union because of stricter data privacy laws.

Earlier this year the EU found Meta’s legal basis for processing Facebook user’s personal data to be unlawful. It’s likely it will be more careful with Threads.

Today’s episode was written and mixed by Imy Harper.