The unthinkable has happened! Twitter is no longer a monolith. Now, Twitter has a direct and serious competitor for the first time since its launch—Threads, owned by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta. Twitter serves as a social media platform for real-time news updates and public conversations, boasting 390 million active users over the past 16 years. However, Threads managed to acquire 30 million users within a day.
The History of Meta
Meta stands as the largest social media company in the world, encompassing Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and much more. Personally, I believe Zuckerberg is not merely experimenting. They have the ability to introduce Threads directly to their existing user base and leverage it. This is not the first time Meta has copied an app or feature from a social media competitor; they introduced a feature in Instagram that mimicked Snapchat, affecting its popularity. The competition between Instagram and TikTok is also well-known, and the introduction of “Reels” on Instagram had a similar impact. This scenario could potentially occur with Twitter as well.
Zuckerberg’s net worth was $140 billion in 2021, but it has since dropped to $70 billion. Therefore, he was in desperate need of something new and exciting. It appears that he has found it.
Meta vs. Twitter
Meta generated $125 billion in revenue last year, while Twitter’s best financial year only reached $5 billion. One major issue Twitter faces is the struggle to monetize effectively. Instagram, with approximately 2.3 billion users, far surpasses Twitter’s 300 million active users. Although Bluesky and Mastodon could be considered as competition for Twitter, the number of their active users remains around 1 million.
Advertisers want to be present on platforms where their ads can effectively reach the audience. Meta excels at generating revenue through advertisements. Implementing this advertising system from Instagram onto Threads would be an incredible advantage. While Twitter is the go-to platform for breaking news, if Threads can provide a better way to engage and attract audiences, it has the potential to surpass Twitter in the future.
Differences between Threads and Twitter:
- Twitter requires a username and password for login, whereas Threads allows login via an Instagram account.
- Threads does not currently have a dedicated website, unlike Twitter.
- Threads lacks a search panel at the moment.
- Deleting your Threads profile is not possible without also deleting your Instagram account, which can be inconvenient.
- Threads currently supports a maximum of 500 characters, whereas Twitter allows up to 10,000 characters for verified accounts.
- Threads permits users to upload videos up to 5 minutes in length, while Twitter allows up to 2 hours for verified accounts.
Zuckerberg’s Perfect Timing
The timing couldn’t be better, as a significant number of users are dissatisfied with Twitter. Interestingly, this dissatisfaction has escalated since Elon Musk’s increased presence on Twitter. Elon Musk has garnered numerous enemies due to his policies. He recently imposed limits on the number of tweets unverified accounts can view per day (600 posts), with new accounts only able to view 300 tweets per day. Elon Musk’s ultimate goal is to transform Twitter into a paid service. Furthermore, bringing back banned Twitter accounts like Donald Trump’s has raised eyebrows, resulting in unhappiness, particularly from the left spectrum, who view Twitter as a toxic place.
Should Elon be worried?
Absolutely! He paid $44 billion for the Twitter takeover, back when Twitter held a monopoly. Now, with a genuine competitor, Elon’s Twitter is also in the midst of a rebuild. If Zuckerberg can successfully convert a quarter of Instagram’s 2.3 billion active users to Threads, they will have well over 500 million users, surpassing Twitter’s current user base. In summary, Twitter doesn’t need to search for users actively. Considering all that has transpired in recent years, it’s not just Twitter vs. Meta; it’s Elon Musk vs. Zuckerberg. Don’t believe me? Try searching for Elon’s Instagram account or check Zuckerberg’s last tweet—his first tweet on Twitter in well over a decade. Doesn’t it feel like a taunt?
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty!
Let’s not get carried away; these individuals and corporations are gaining unimaginable power. Some political leaders support Elon’s free speech absolutism, while others would like to see Zuckerberg take on Elon. These vested interests prevent politicians from taking action.
Threads is a significant development, representing the closest competition to Twitter due to its ownership by Meta, which also owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. In my opinion, if there are no major glitches or setbacks such as those experienced with Cambridge Analytica, Threads can pose a real challenge to Twitter in a few years. The most important aspect is the ease of transitioning from Instagram to Threads without having to create a separate account solely for Twitter. However, this does not mean it will be the end of Twitter, as Twitter and Elon Musk have a loyal community behind them. Nevertheless, this situation could ignite a social media war: X Corp vs. Meta. Let’s wait and see.