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Jul 6, 2023, 11:34am EDT
techNorth America

The internet reacts to Threads

The Meta Threads app logo.
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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The News

We’re just over 12 hours into the life of Threads, the new text-based app from Facebook and Instagram’s parent company that aims to rival Twitter.

Threads was initially supposed to launch Thursday morning, but the much-hyped launch was pushed up to Wednesday, allowing Instagram users to directly link their accounts to the new app.

Here are the most insightful reactions to the app’s launch.

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“It’s good”

Threads allows users to automatically follow the accounts they follow on Instagram, but the main feed uses an algorithm to show posts from any user.

“It’s basically Twitter in 2010," Platformer’s Casey Newton wrote, reflecting on the simplicity of the interface and lack of features like hashtags, edit buttons, and an advanced search function. Threads also only exists as an app, without a desktop option, frustrating some early adopters.

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But given the current state of Twitter — which is adding new fees to services like Tweetdeck and limiting the number of posts a user can read — Threads ”can feel like a miracle," Newton wrote. And the mood so far is “cheerful and light on drama,” he added, given that the feed is largely dominated by celebs and influencers.

Social media consultant Matt Navarra’s first impressions: ”It’s good ... Elons in trouble.”

Algorithm woes

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The choice to launch an algorithmic timeline “dismayed many on day one,” the FT’s Tim Bradshaw writes, though he compared the vibe on Threads to the ”giddy early days of Twitter.”

Some techies aren’t so sure Threads has what it takes to fully replace Twitter. Tech journalist Ryan Broderick criticized the algorithmic feed and said the app is “completely overrun with big meme accounts.”

“All we’re going to end up with are increasingly niche Twitters and TikToks with different style sheets. ... The era is over but we can’t let it go yet,” he tweeted.

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said Threads is working on an option for a following-only feed, as well as other features.

Linking up

The app requires an Instagram account to sign up, and directly links the two apps. Some users were taken aback by the discovery that if you want to delete your Threads account, you have to also delete the linked Instagram account.

You are able to deactivate your Threads account separately, though.

Zuck vs. Elon

The Threads launch ratcheted up the public rivalry between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk.

Zuckerberg tweeted for the first time in 11 years on Wednesday, using a meme as an apparent reference to the new app being seen as a Twitter clone.

Over on Threads, Zuckerberg said he thinks “there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it,” adding that Twitter “hasn’t nailed” its opportunity to do the same. “Hopefully we will,” he said.

Musk, who has said he wanted to stage a fight with Zuckerberg, reacted to the Threads launch by tweeting, “It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”

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