The Battle between Threads and Twitter: Who is King?

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Benefiting from the exodus of users leaving Twitter en masse, Meta’s “Threads” has garnered 30 million registrations within just 24 hours, positioning itself as a potential advertising platform of the future.

Recently, the technology giant Meta has caused a global sensation with the introduction of Threads, a text-based social network where users can create posts of up to 500 characters on the platform.

Threads and twitter
Threads and twitter

The app offers many features similar to Twitter: users can post text and links, as well as reply to or share posts from others. Additionally, users can transfer their follower lists and existing account names from Instagram to Threads. The app is available for download in over 100 countries.

This social network is viewed as a direct competitor to Twitter with a similar operational approach. In its early days, Threads successfully attracted numerous high-profile individuals to create accounts, coincidentally including those with tens of millions of followers on Twitter.

Among them, the most prominent are billionaire Bill Gates (62.9 million), singer Shakira (53.8 million), Jennifer Lopez (44.9 million), and rapper Wiz Khalifa (36.3 million). Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, shared, “While this journey will take some time, I believe the app will have a billion users on it. Twitter had the opportunity to do this, but they haven’t succeeded. Hopefully, we will.

“Threads” emerges at the moment users are seeking an alternative to Twitter

According to Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, the “flux” and “unpredictability” of Twitter under Elon Musk’s leadership have created an opportunity for competitors to join the competition. In an interview, Mosseri stated that Threads is designed for “public conversations” a purpose that Twitter executives have used to describe the “blue bird” platform in recent years.

Clearly, Twitter pioneered in this field. Currently, the market has many services supporting users in posting public conversations. However, I believe that through Threads, we will have the opportunity to build an open application and bring more value to the Instagram user community.” Mosseri said.

Threads interface has many similarities with Twitter
Threads interface has many similarities with Twitter

Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter has undergone rapid changes with a slew of new regulations. Since acquiring Twitter for $44 billion in October of last year, Elon Musk has fired thousands of employees, relaxed content moderation policies, and limited the rights of user and advertiser content access and posting.

For instance, in April 2023, Twitter encouraged users to subscribe to the Twitter Blue service to gain blue checkmarks and exclusive feature experiences. Meanwhile, the platform began increasing restrictions for free users, ceasing to suggest tweets from unverified accounts to them. Additionally, accounts not subscribed to Twitter Blue no longer have the right to vote in polls.

Recently

Twitter “firmly” limited the amount of content users can read. Specifically, the platform only allows verified accounts to read 6,000 posts per day, while unverified accounts (the majority of users) are limited to 600 posts per day. Meanwhile, newly created and unverified accounts are limited to 300 posts per day. These limitations have become a factor causing Twitter users to become dissatisfied and seek alternative solutions.

Twitter's New Regulations Frustrate Users
Twitter’s New Regulations Frustrate Users

Right when users were becoming frustrated with the “blue bird” Meta entered the scene with the Threads social network. According to Connor Hayes, Vice President of Product at Instagram, many Instagram users had requested the company to create an app focused on text.

Despite being newly launched, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Twitter that Threads had reached the milestone of 2 million registrations just two hours after its launch. Subsequently, this number continued to grow: 10 million registrations after seven hours, 30 million registrations, along with 95 million posts and 190 million likes shared within 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg’s “Zuck” account on Threads also gained nearly a million followers. He actively posted content and received thousands of responses.

Intense competition between two technology “empires”

After its launch, the Threads platform received numerous positive reviews. Aisha Counts of Bloomberg commented, “Previously, I thought features like Stories or Reels were things that Zuckerberg copied from other apps.But with Threads, I find it useful, especially the ability to connect and share, discover content without limitations or fees.” With strong user growth, Business Insider remarked that the score is currently 1-0 in favor of Zuckerberg.

However, the ironic twist is that Mark Zuckerberg himself acknowledged the similarity between Threads and Twitter. He even posted a meme of “Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man” with the caption indicating similar objects or events on Twitter, poking fun at the similarity of the two platforms. This action somewhat taunts Twitter, as this is the first time Mark Zuckerberg has posted on the platform in 11 years.

Mark Zuckerberg's post on Twitter
Mark Zuckerberg’s post on Twitter

It can be said that the “teasing” and impressive launch of Threads have irked the leadership of Twitter. Alex Spiro, Twitter’s Representative Attorney, sent a letter to Meta accusing the company of “systematic misappropriation, deliberate use of unlawful trade secrets and other intellectual property” by hiring former Twitter employees.

The letter specifically stated: “In recent years, Meta has hired dozens of former Twitter employees. These are individuals with access to the trade secrets and confidential information of the platform.” Additionally, Spiro asserted that Twitter plans to enforce measures to protect intellectual property rights and requires Meta to immediately cease the use of any of Twitter’s trade secrets or confidential information.

Similarly, billionaire Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, also commented on the issue by quoting news about the lawsuit and adding the content: “Competition is one thing, but cheating is not.”

However, immediately thereafter, Andy Stone, Meta’s Spokesperson, outrightly refuted the content of the letter, stating, “No one on the Threads technical team is a former Twitter employee.

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Carl Tobias, a Law Professor at the University of Richmond, shared with CNN that the legal threat might not necessarily lead to a lawsuit. But it is part of a strategy to delay Meta’s development plans: “Sometimes lawyers make threats but don’t actually act on them. This might be a case like that, but I’m not sure at this point. It’s possible that constraining Meta with a lawsuit could slow down their development.

Is Twitter being defeated?

For many years, Twitter has been a renowned platform for users to update real-time news and commentary. Numerous celebrities, including global leaders and businesspeople, have created accounts on the platform.

It is also a social network where journalists, governments, scholars, and the public share information on current prominent issues. In emergencies, Twitter provides real-time information support to help reduce casualties.

Many entrepreneurs like Bill Gates also use Twitter
Many entrepreneurs like Bill Gates also use Twitter

However, Twitter’s position began to waver when Elon Musk took over last year. Sudden changes, policy shifts, and user habits have caused the platform to increasingly lose its standing. This has created opportunities for competitive rivals to vie for the throne.

Nevertheless, the development path of Twitter’s new rival is not easy either. Concerns about data privacy have hindered Threads’ launch in the European Union. Furthermore, Meta’s development team and financial capability are also concerning, as the corporation has laid off tens of thousands of employees and Zuckerberg continues to invest billions of USD in the virtual reality world of the Metaverse.

How will Threads change the advertising world?

Many brands have swiftly made their appearance and humorously introduced their joining on the platform. Netflix “boasted” about aligning its brand modestly with the trend by using the “distracted man” meme alongside the caption: “Waiting for you to join.” Through this, the brand demonstrated pioneering and agility in capturing its own trend.

In addition, many social media platforms that do not directly compete with Threads have also joined in one after another. Both YouTube and TikTok quickly joined and posted content shortly after Threads’ launch.

TikTok's posts on Threads
TikTok’s posts on Threads

Zuckerberg also mentioned that he is focused on turning Threads into a “friendly place” and believes that this is the key to the platform’s success. “That’s why Twitter has never succeeded as I thought, and we want to do it differently” he wrote. It is evident that Mark Zuckerberg’s “ambition” in the development of Threads has the potential to pave the way for a new media platform in the future.

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Conclusion

Meta’s Threads has swiftly established itself as a formidable contender in the social media arena, capitalizing on user discontent with Twitter’s changes. Its rapid adoption rate, innovative features, and potential to redefine advertising highlight its capacity to reshape the digital landscape and challenge established norms.

The rivalry between Threads and Twitter exemplifies the dynamic nature of technological evolution and underscores the transformative power of competition in shaping the future of online communication.