Instagram‘s long-awaited Twitter competitor, Threads, has finally made its debut, putting an end to months of speculation, leaks, and even a playful challenge between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. With the platform now accessible via its desktop site at Threads.net or through the app on iOS and Android devices, users can dive into this new social networking experience. (Note: If you encounter any issues on iOS, try force quitting the App Store and reopening it.)
As Threads is closely integrated with Instagram, users can conveniently log in with their Instagram usernames and effortlessly follow the same individuals they engage with on the photo-sharing platform.
Threads offer users the ability to create text-based posts of up to 500 characters long and include links, along with the option to share photos and videos lasting up to five minutes.
The app’s interface bears some resemblance to Twitter, featuring a sleek and minimalist design that allows users to like, comment, repost, and share threads.
Similar to Instagram, Threads presents a main feed that combines recommended content with posts from followed users. Unlike Twitter, though, it seems there is currently no option to switch between streams of recommended and following-only content. Nevertheless, Meta, the parent company of Instagram, may consider adding this feature in the future.
Privacy controls from Instagram are also carried over to Threads. Users have the ability to filter out specific words from replies and can choose who can respond to their threads: everyone on the platform, only people they follow, or solely the users mentioned in their posts.
However, at its launch, Threads does not support ActivityPub, the decentralized social networking protocol also utilized by Mastodon. ActivityPub enables users to transfer their information from one host to another and provides other interoperability features. Meta states that they believe this decentralized approach, akin to the protocols governing email and the web, will play a significant role in the future of online platforms. Threads mark Meta’s initial step towards compatibility with an open social networking protocol, aiming to help users find their community across various applications within this rapidly expanding ecosystem.
The introduction of Threads coincides with Twitter’s implementation of more stringent user restrictions. These include a temporary rate limit that prevents unverified users from viewing over 600 posts per day (or 300 posts for new unverified accounts). Additionally, Twitter briefly blocked logged-out users from accessing tweets on the platform before subsequently reversing the change. The company has also introduced a new version of TweetDeck that requires a verified subscription.
Threads are being launched by Meta in more than 100 countries, including the United States. However, it will not be initially available in the European Union. Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram, who now resides in Europe, explained this decision, stating that the complexities of complying with forthcoming regulations pose significant challenges. Meta aims to ensure forward compatibility and adherence to the highest internal standards for documentation and testing before launching in the EU.
Related // How to join Threads app