Meta’s Threads is now available [Update]

Another Twitter competitor will enter the ring soon

Update 5/7/2023 7:41pm ET: Meta’s Threads app is now available in the App Store and Play Store.

Update 5/7/2023 4:16pm ET: It looks like Meta’s Threads app might arrive sooner than expected. The timer on the Threads website has jumped forward and will now end at 7pm ET / 4pm PT. App store listings for Threads, as well as teasers in the Instagram app, previously pointed to a 10am reveal on July 6th.

The original story follows below:

As Twitter continues to slowly degrade before our eyes, Meta’s in-development competitor — Instagram Threads — may be just around the corner. Over the weekend, sleuths found App Store and Play Store listings for Threads, which point to a July 6th launch.

However, it’s not just app store listings. Meta also added a teaser to the Instagram app. As spotted by The Verge‘s Alex Heath, typing ‘threads’ or other select keywords into the Instagram search box causes a ticket icon to appear. Tapping it pulls up a ticket on the screen, which does a little spin and reveals a local launch time: 10am ET / 7am PT on July 6th.

Screenshots of Thread in the app stores show an interface that should be somewhat familiar to anyone who has used text-based social media like Twitter or any of the recent Twitter-like apps that have cropped up in the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform. The screenshots also show that users can sign in with their existing Instagram account, find their followers and share their opinion.

Interestingly, Threads is supposed to integrate with ‘ActivityPub,’ the decentralized social media protocol used by Mastodon. The main thing to know about ActivityPub is that it should make social networks interoperable by connecting everything to one social graph and content-sharing system. One way to think about it is more like email and less like current social networks. It doesn’t matter if you use Gmail, Outlook, or another email service — you can still send an email to someone else on a different service. The Verge has a good overview of ActivityPub here.

Threads’ impending launch comes after a particularly rocky weekend for Twitter. Over a short few days, Musk’s Twitter started blocking unregistered users from seeing tweets, implemented a temporary rate limit on the number of tweets users can see, and basically killed Tweetdeck, a valuable tool for accessing real-time tweets (and the main reason I haven’t totally abandoned the platform yet). While Musk’s most rabid fans remain convinced this is all some masterful gambit from the billionaire, for everyone else, it’s hard not to see the latest changes as yet another nail in the coffin.

But whether Threads will be the upstart app to finally best Twitter remains to be seen, though I suspect Meta might have a better shot at it than most. At the same time, Meta isn’t seen in the most favourable light these days, and there are already some concerns being raised about Threads’ privacy policy and data collection, though it collects the same information as Instagram.

Source: The Verge