Threads: Meta's Twitter alternative hits more than 10 million people signing up on first day, Mark Zuckerberg says

Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that Meta’s rival platform to Twitter, known as Threads, has already had more than 10 million people sign up to it on the first day

It is the new app billed as the first genuine rival to Twitter – and it has seen more than ten million people sign up in the first few hours following its launch, according to Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg.

Threads, created by Facebook and Instagram owners Meta, went live in the UK at midnight on Thursday.

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The launch of the platform was brought forward by 15 hours and made freely available in 100 countries, but it is not yet available in the EU due to regulatory concerns.

The Twitter logo reflected near the logo for Threads, an Instagram app. Picture: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Twitter logo reflected near the logo for Threads, an Instagram app. Picture: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
The Twitter logo reflected near the logo for Threads, an Instagram app. Picture: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Linked to Instagram, it allows users to post up to 500 characters of text and up to five minutes of video and links, as well as pictures.

Chef Gordon Ramsay, pop star Shakira and Mark Hoyle, better known as the YouTuber LadBaby, have already joined and made their presence on the app known. Downing Street has said it is considering whether to get Rishi Sunak onto Threads.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “As with other social media sites, we will use the best tools available to us to communicate the Government’s priorities to the public. This one was launched today, we’ll evaluate it and make a decision at the appropriate time.”

Foreign secretary James Cleverly has signed up, as has energy secretary Grant Shapps.

The launch comes against a backdrop of turbulence at Twitter, after it imposed tweet viewing limits at the weekend in a move Elon Musk’s social media firm partly blamed on data harvesting by companies building artificial intelligence models.

Many users have publicly expressed frustrations with Twitter since Mr Musk took over, partly linked to political views and erratic behaviour, as well as efforts to push more users towards its paid-for Twitter Blue service.

Posting on the new app under the username zuck and using a “mind blown” emoji, Mr Zuckerberg wrote: “10 million sign up in seven hours.” He said earlier: “I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this, but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”

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The platform is directly linked with Instagram, which has more than two billion users. Twitter is estimated to have over 350 million users.

Mr Zuckerberg suggested Threads would be a more wholesome alternative to Twitter. “The goal is to keep it friendly as it expands,” he said. “I think it’s possible and will ultimately be the key to its success.”

The new app is the latest chapter in the rivalry between Mr Zuckerberg and Mr Musk, who bought Twitter in October. Last month, the pair – two of the world’s most high-profile billionaires – agreed to take each other on in a cage fight in an exchange that went viral on social media.

Mr Musk tweeted about Meta, saying: “It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”

Users of the new app will be able to use their Instagram login to get started and, like on the picture-sharing platform, can follow and connect with friends and influencers with similar interests.

In the UK, all users under 18 will be defaulted onto a private profile when they join.

Someone’s feed on the app includes threads from people they follow as well as recommended content from creators they have not yet heard of.

Threads posts can be shared on a user’s Instagram story and as a link on other platforms.

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People can control who mentions them and who can reply to them on the new app, replies to threads containing specific words can be filtered out and other users can be unfollowed, blocked, restricted and reported.

Any accounts a user has blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on the new app and Instagram’s safety guidelines will be enforced on the new platform, Meta said.

Eventually, the California-based company wants it to be possible for people without a Threads account to interact on the platform, which it hopes will usher in a “new era of diverse and interconnected networks”.

If and when this happens, if a user has a public profile their posts will be accessible from other apps while if they have a private one they will have to approve new followers.

Earlier this week, social media consultant and industry analyst Matt Navarra described the app as the “first credible threat” to Twitter.

He said: “I think that Threads is the first real, credible threat to Elon Musk’s Twitter. Users of Twitter are desperately looking for an exit from the platform to escape, and the existing options of rivals are fairly limited.

“They all have the same big problem, which is you have to start from zero – it’s a network that is completely new.

“One of the biggest benefits for Meta is that it’s building off the back of Instagram, where people are familiar and can also kick-start their following because it ties into the same social graph.”

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Mr Navarra said while users have an appetite for change, it would be weighed up against mixed public opinions on Meta. He added: “Meta and Instagram comes with baggage, a bad name and bad press. People are very wary and sceptical of anything [Meta owner] Mark Zuckerberg does.”

The arrival of the new app comes after Twitter announced TweetDeck is to become the next part of the company to be limited to users who have paid for verified status. Two days earlier, Mr Musk announced non-verified users would be limited to reading just 1,000 posts a day.



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