Can Meta Platform’s Threads Challenge Twitter?

by Warren Seah

Meta Platform’s new social platform, Threads, has gained significant momentum since its recent launch. However, the crucial question now is whether the platform can retain these users and successfully compete with Twitter.

The launch of Threads resulted in fluctuating stock prices for Meta on Wall Street. Despite the slight surprise of an earlier release, Meta’s co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that an impressive 30 million people have already created accounts on the platform. Zuckerberg emphasized that although this is just the beginning, there is still a substantial amount of work ahead to fully develop the app.

Sustaining this initial surge in user engagement and ensuring that users continue to return to the platform present a significant challenge according to Mike Proulx, an analyst with Forrester Research. Proulx indicated that this is the true test for Meta and Threads.

Meta effectively capitalized on its extensive user base from Instagram and its vast network of data centers to streamline the signup process for Instagram users. However, Forrester Research also conducted a swift poll involving 427 adults, revealing that 34% of participants expressed their reluctance to join Threads due to not wanting another social media platform.

In addition to this resistance, new users have voiced concerns about certain aspects of Threads. One common complaint is the inclusion of feeds from strangers whom they neither know nor follow. Another issue raised is the adoption of an algorithmic feed order, unlike the chronological feed format employed by Twitter.

The success of Threads will depend on Meta’s ability to address these challenges and provide a compelling experience that keeps users engaged and coming back to the platform. With its sturdy foundation built upon Instagram’s user base and data infrastructure, Meta has positioned itself to pose a serious challenge to Twitter’s dominance in the social media landscape.

Threads: A New Era of Social Media

While Threads, the latest offering from Meta, has been met with some challenges, it has managed to make quite an impact in its first few hours. Users have been particularly interested in features such as importing Twitter followers, trending topics, translations, and hashtags. However, Threads is currently only available on mobile devices, similar to Instagram in its early stages. The question of whether there are plans for a desktop version of Threads remains unanswered by Meta, leaving some, especially office workers, longing for this option.

Despite its drawbacks, the rapid scalability achieved by Threads is nothing short of impressive. Luke Lintz, the CEO of HighKey Enterprises, a renowned digital marketing company, believes that few social media platforms will be able to replicate this level of growth unless they are acquired by a larger player in the industry. However, Lintz also acknowledges that the user experience on Threads can be somewhat overwhelming, as the platform fails to provide a way to separate followers and presents every post indiscriminately.

Financial analysts on Wall Street predict that Threads will not generate immediate revenue, as Meta initially refrains from displaying ads on the platform. Ken Gawrelski, an analyst from Wells Fargo, suggests that Threads could potentially generate between $800 million and $3.9 billion in incremental revenue, based on an initial launch limited to the United States alone. This figure represents a 0.5% to 2.5% upside compared to Gawrelski’s current revenue estimates for the year 2025.

The Battle Between Twitter and Threads

Threads is arriving at a challenging moment for Twitter as Elon Musk implements several changes, including limiting the number of tweets that non-paying users can see. In an effort to create a less toxic environment, Twitter has seen a significant decline in its user base, losing approximately 10 million users since 2022 and currently standing at around 364 million users. Undertaking a $44 billion acquisition of the company, Musk took Twitter private towards the end of last year.

Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, expressed Meta’s desire for Threads to become an open and friendly platform for conversations. However, the current landscape indicates that Twitter may maintain its position as the voice for conservatives, with Threads establishing itself as an alternative, potentially catering to a more liberal audience. Justin Proulx, an expert from Forrester, predicts that Twitter will shift towards a more conservative user base due to a variety of factors, leaving Threads as a viable alternative.

While Musk and Zuckerberg’s discussions about a real-life cage fight between the two tech CEOs continue, a virtual cage fight between Twitter and Threads is now underway.

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