The countdown is on to the launch of Meta’s Twitter competitor, Threads, which is launching on Thursday on iOS with Android expected soon.
A few developers got their hands on the app early. While Threads looks similar to Twitter, according to leaks, it also has a few unique things going for it.
Threads sync with Instagram
There’s a lot of crossover between Threads and Instagram, meaning that brands and creators that have built followings on the video and image site don’t have to start from scratch on the new text-based platform as they would on other Twitter alternatives such as Bluesky, Mastodon and Post.
Users on Threads and Instagram will be able to share one username, display name and profile picture across both, meaning users won’t have to worry about racing an impersonator to secure a name. Blocking an account on one site would also block it on the other.
Earning followers is a different story. According to developer and self-proclaimed leaker Alessandro Paluzzi, who caught wind of Threads in March, Instagram will promote Threads accounts belonging to people a user already follows. Instagram will encourage those following a brand or creator to do the same on Threads, but it isn’t an automatic process right off the bat.
Users can choose to automatically follow Instagram accounts on Threads, according to 9to5Google. They can automatically follow public profiles, request to follow private ones and put out a “pending follow” to those who haven’t made a Threads account.
A few brands and creators are already on board
Meta briefly made a web version of Threads available on Wednesday before pulling profiles down a few hours later. A handful of creators, brands and executives made accounts, including Netflix, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mark Zuckerberg, Instagram head Adam Mosseri and author Connor Franta.
A screenshot of Netflix’s post looks like it came straight off Twitter.
Meta has also already given select creators a guide for how to use Threads, according to Business Insider. Those instructions seem limited to downloading and using the app as well as advice on when and how often to post.
There’s no word on what creator monetization will look like, but Meta appears to be focused on building those relationships.
Functionally works just like Twitter
As evidenced by Netflix’s post, Threads and Twitter will operate similarly. On posts, there are icons for liking, reposting and replying. Profile pictures appear in little circles; there are character counts, ways to attach pictures and videos and blue-check verification badges, though no golds at the moment.
In terms of brand safety, Instagram head Adam Mosseri posted on Tuesday that users can restrict replies to profiles they follow or those mentioned in the post.
Unavailable in the EU at launch
Due to ambiguity in the Digital Markets Act, Threads won’t make its way to the E.U. at launch. There’s no word on when it will hit that market.
Connects to decentralized platforms like Mastodon
Threads will eventually support ActivityPub, a protocol that supports posting on decentralized platforms such as Mastodon. While unavailable at launch, that will allow Threads users to follow and interact with other users across servers, though it’s not yet clear what those interactions will look like.
There’s currently no release date for ActivityPub support.
Meta is capitalizing on Twitter’s problems
Threads was supposed to debut later in July. After Twitter put a daily limit on the number of tweets users can read and put Tweetdeck behind a Blue paywall, Meta pushed up the release date.
At a company-wide meeting in June, Meta chief product officer Chris Cox told employees that “we’ve been hearing from creators and public figures who are interested in having a platform that is sanely run, that they believe that they can trust and rely upon for distribution.”