Threads by Instagram, Meta’s text-based conversation app launching soon

Jul 4, 2023, 1:45 PM UTC
3 mins read
Threads by Instagram, Meta's text-based conversation app launching soon
App Store listing for the app.

Instagram, the popular social media platform owned by Meta, is preparing to launch its highly anticipated Twitter competitor, Instagram Threads, on July 6th. The announcement comes with a series of intriguing features and integration with the decentralized social media protocol, ActivityPub. As Twitter faces its own challenges and controversies, the arrival of Threads aims to provide users with an alternative text-based conversation app.

Meta has discreetly revealed the launch date for Instagram Threads by adding a teaser within the Instagram app itself. Users who enter keywords such as “threads” in the search box are greeted with a ticket icon on the search bar. Tapping on it reveals a spinning ticket displaying the user’s Instagram username and a localized launch time, translated from 10 am ET / 2 pm UTC on the 6th of July. Additionally, the spinning ticket includes a QR code that directs users to, which appears to be the web portal for the new social media platform.

Threads aim to create a hub where communities can engage in discussions ranging from current interests to upcoming trends. With Threads, users can directly follow and connect with their favorite creators and like-minded individuals, fostering an environment of shared passions and ideas. The app encourages users to build their own loyal following, allowing them to express their creativity, opinions, and insights to a wider audience.

Both the App Store and Google Play Store listings provide a glimpse into the user interface of Threads. The screenshots showcase a familiar login process using Instagram handles, a seamless transition of following Instagram accounts onto the new app, and an interface reminiscent of popular text-focused social media platforms such as Twitter, Mastodon, and Bluesky.

During a companywide meeting, Meta executives disclosed their plan to integrate Instagram Threads with ActivityPub, a decentralized social media protocol employed by Mastodon. This integration aligns with the vision of providing creators and public figures with a platform that operates transparently and effectively. The move has sparked discussions about the potential clash between Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.

The announcement of Threads’ launch comes at a turbulent time for Twitter. Recently, the platform faced criticism after implementing restrictions that blocked unregistered users from viewing tweets and imposed temporary rate limits for logged-in users, causing widespread browsing issues. As a result, Twitter has also started making significant changes to TweetDeck, a popular tool for journalists and social media professionals. These developments have led many users to explore alternative platforms like Bluesky, while TweetDeck is scheduled to become a paid feature.

The news of Threads’ launch prompted reactions from prominent figures in the tech industry. Elon Musk responded to several tweets highlighting the data collection potential mentioned in Meta’s App Store listing, sarcastically commenting on the platform’s purported “sane” practices. Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, playfully remarked on Threads’ data collection notice, drawing attention to Instagram’s existing app, which already links similar data.

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