close icon close

Threads – Meta takes on Twitter with rival app

Antonia Phillips | 05.07.2023

News broke yesterday that Meta is bringing forward the launch of a new app called Threads, available from tomorrow in the US and the UK, that’s set to rival Twitter. So, what does this mean for us?

What’s going on?

Much has been in the news last week over Elon Musk’s recent decisions on how to run Twitter, most notably the limitations introduced on how many posts users could view a day, and while Musk’s detractors and supporters had their own takes on why this was happening, both sides were ultimately united in confusion. Other factors that are too complicated to get into here,  including claims that Twitter has taken a political lurch to the far right, have ultimately meant that users are looking for alternative text-based social media platforms. Mastodon and Bluesky have been cited as potential successors, but users found sign up barriers; Mastodon’s servers struggled with the huge increase in traffic and Bluesky is invite only. Enter Threads.

What is Threads?

Threads, which has had its launch brought forwards and seemingly announced out of nowhere yesterday, is Meta’s creation of a text-based social media platform which will be connected to Instagram, and the latest shot fired in the Zuckerberg vs Musk rivalry that’s been dominating the headlines. It appears that people will be able to login using their Instagram accounts (though it will be a separate app). As a recap, Instagram has over 1.6 billion monthly active users (compared to Twitter’s 450 million), meaning that a fraction of Instagram’s audience needs to sign up to Threads for it to become a genuine rival to Twitter. It is important to note that Threads is not initially launching in some European countries following privacy concerns in line with EU regulations.

So what does this mean for us?

It’s an interesting one. Twitter has been of huge value to the financial and professional services industry as a fast and reliable source of real time news that our audiences are glued to, and the benefits of organisations having a presence and voice amongst this has been obvious. However, Twitter’s authority as a breaking news outlet has been questioned since Elon’s algorithms show favouritism to those who pay for a blue tick and have an opinion – literally any opinion at all – over credible journalists and sources on the ground.

On the flip side, Meta’s existing platforms Instagram and Facebook have largely not been on the radar for B2B/FS PRs and marketers as it isn’t a natural home for our audiences – clients, customers and journalists alike – but the phenomenal success that consumer-facing brands have seen on these platforms is undeniable, in terms of both engaging their audiences and generating leads. If Threads does start to become a place where professionals congregate, and use like Twitter, then social media strategies will need to start including a tailored Threads approach, fast.

That said, in our opinion the biggest barrier to this is that Threads and Instagram accounts will be connected (they will share a username handle, profile picture and full name) that users may be reticent to have their personal and professional social personas so closely interlinked. To truly rival Twitter, Meta may first have to separate Threads from Instagram. We’ll be keeping an eye out as the app becomes available to download, and at least this will likely distract Musk and Zuckerberg from trying to physically fight each other for the time being.

Share this article

Want to share this article with others? Share via the links below