Meta’s Twitter Rival Threads Will Launch Thursday As Chaos Continues On Elon Musk’s Platform

Published 11 months ago
By Forbes | Robert Hart
In this photo illustration, a user sees in his download
(Photo Illustration by Lucas Aguayo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

TOPLINE

Facebook and WhatsApp parent Meta will launch the firm’s long awaited competitor to Twitter, Instagram Threads, on Thursday, escalating the personal rivalry between feuding billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk and firmly throwing down the gauntlet after another chaotic weekend had the platform’s users searching for alternatives.

KEY FACTS

Meta’s app, Threads, is listed as “coming soon” on Apple’s App Store and is available for pre-order.

The listing said Threads is “expected July 6” and Meta’s countdown website for the launch indicates the app will go live at 10 a.m. ET (7 a.m. PT), though it’s unclear whether Meta plans to stagger the rollout in some way.

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Details on the full nature of Threads are scarce but the listing describes the platform as a “text-based conversation app” and screenshots show a dashboard that appears very similar to Twitter’s app, with the ability to like, share, post and repost content.

Threads will be directly linked to Meta’s popular photo sharing platform Instagram and screenshots suggest users can keep their usernames and easily follow the same accounts they do on Instagram on the new platform.

From the listing, Threads looks likely to be a free service in exchange for personal data, a model in line with many of Meta’s other popular apps and other free online services.

Instagram Threads users will need to be at least 12 years old, according to the App Store listing.

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WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

It’s not clear when Threads will be launched on Android systems or whether the network will be accessible without the app. A similar listing of Threads reportedly appeared on the Google Play store—which serves Android devices—on Saturday showing similar features, images and descriptions. The post, which did not list a release date, was seemingly in error and was swiftly removed from the store.

NEWS PEG

Meta’s release of a product to rival Twitter is both timely and expected. Meta, formerly Facebook, has a well documented history of lifting features from competitors—its short-form video feature Reels draws from TikTok, community chats from Discord and disappearing video and photo feature Stories from Snapchat—to varying degrees of success. Twitter is an obvious target, with many users keen to jump ship given the parade of controversy and service issues that has followed Elon Musk’s takeover last year, including drastic revisions to longstanding verification and content moderation policies, cutting company headcount to the bone, changes to who can access platform data and numerous system outages. Most recently, Musk limited the number of posts users—even paying users—could see on Twitter and required users to have registered for accounts to view tweets. With each new development, rivals like Bluesky, Trump’s Truth Social and Mastodon have benefited handsomely, though none have yet managed to gain the kind of traction needed to fully take on an established social media giant like Twitter. With its vast resources and established social networks, Threads’ arrival could pose a serious threat to Twitter.

FORBES VALUATION

$101.5 billion. That’s how much Forbes estimates Mark Zuckerberg is worth, according to our live tracker. Zuckerberg’s fortune is largely derived from his stake in Meta and it makes him the 10th richest person in the world. Musk is worth an estimated $249.4 billion and currently holds the top position in Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people. The two billionaires have reportedly been feuding for years, though this recently spilled out into the public domain and the pair are apparently primed to settle things with a literal fight. It is unclear whether the agreed upon “cage match” will ever happen.

FURTHER READING

Behind the Musk-Zuckerberg ‘Cage Match’ Is a Yearslong Billionaire Feud (WSJ)

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