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Threads – which will be connected to Instagram, another Meta-owned company – is expected to mimic the Twitter product and draw from Meta’s Instagram user base.
Users will be able to use their Instagram accounts to log in to the new app, which self-describes on the App Store as “Instagram’s text-based conversation app” to “discuss everything from the topics you care about today.”
Though Meta already owns Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, the company has long searched for a product to compete with Twitter’s popularity: A Twitter employee wrote in an internal post that “Twitter is in crisis and Meta needs its mojo back,” according to a December 2022 report by The New York Times. The employee added, “LET’S GO FOR THEIR BREAD AND BUTTER.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that more than 50 million consumers use both Twitter and Instagram, and Meta likely hopes to capitalize on that base. The company has previously adopted similar tactics to combat competitors, such as introducing Stories to compete with Snapchat and Reels to rival Tiktok.
The announcement comes after months of publicity about a rivalry between Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter owner Elon Musk, culminating in a proposed boxing fight between the two, as suggested by Zuckerberg.
Since Musk took over Twitter in October 2022, the company has faced a bucket of controversies over significant cuts to its workforce, changes to its “blue check” verification process, and loosening moderation rules. The company also gained public attention following Musk’s decision to release the “Twitter Files” to several journalists, including Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss.
Most recently, Musk announced over the weekend that he would place “temporary limits” on how many Tweets accounts can view per day, citing “extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation,” according to his Twitter account.
Twitter has also likely experienced a steep decline in advertising revenue: The company posted $4.5 billion in 2021, the last year its financials were public before Musk took the company private, but Twitter is predicted to garner only $3 billion in 2023 advertising revenue, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Despite the struggles the company has faced, companies Mastodon and BlueSky, as well as Trump’s Truth Social, all of which have tried to rival Twitter, have not yet gained enough traction to compete with Twitter’s more than 350 million users.
Meta reported a total of 2.99 billion monthly average users across its platforms in its first-quarter earnings report.