Meta is set to launch Threads, an app similar to Twitter. This is what we know about it

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Elon Musk’s changes to Twitter have led to a demand for an alternative – and Meta may be about to provide it.

Many Twitter users have been looking for a new home since the platform was bought by Elon Musk – and one of Twitter’s main social media rivals looks to be offering them a new home.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is launching its Twitter rival Threads on Thursday, and it is already available for pre-order on the Apple Store.

A Threads website which has a QR code for downloading the app also shows a countdown timer, which will reach 0 on Thursday this week.

Billed on the Apple App Store as “Threads, an Instagram App”, the text-based conversation app will be linked to a user’s Instagram account.

“Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow,” reads the description, which doesn’t seem to set it apart from any other text-based social media app.

Musk’s management of Twitter has been called into question due to the major changes and frequent outages the platform has experienced, ever since he bought the company in a $44 billion (€40.38 billion) deal that he then tried to back out of.

Users who are fed up with the changes – which have ranged from requiring payment but not identification for verification, to limiting the number of tweets users can see in a day – have been flirting with a host of alternative apps.

Front runners for Twitter’s micro-blogging crown still have a number of challenges to overcome.

Mastadon is yet to match Twitter’s simple and user-friendly interface. Hive Social just doesn’t have the necessary number of users. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s BlueSky app has a massive waiting list but not many of those who have signed up have been given access yet.

Threads: What we know so far

So what do we know about Threads? Not too much, although the screenshots on the Apple App Store provide some clues.

Users will be able to sign up with and use their Instagram username, and find and follow the same accounts they follow on Instagram.

Posts – likely called Threads – look similar to Tweets, and users can like, reply to, repost, and share posts. They will also be able to limit the audience for their posts.

Given Threads is linked to Instagram accounts, it means Instagram’s user base of more than 1 billion monthly active users would have quick and easy access to an account, without having to build up their following from scratch.

The appearance of Threads on the App Store comes just days after Musk announced limits on the number of tweets users could see each day. This appeared to cause outages across much of the platform, including bringing down the popular Tweetdeck app.

Musk’s reasoning was that Twitter was seeing “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation”. More than 7,500 people at one point reported problems using the platform based on complaints registered on Downdetector, a website that tracks online outages.

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