Meta Platforms Inc. has recently introduced Threads, its latest addition to the crowded social media landscape. This move comes at a time when Twitter is facing mounting frustration from its users. Notably, Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive of Meta, seems to have taken inspiration from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who was known for his skillful copycat tactics.
Zuckerberg has a history of emulating successful ideas from his tech competitors, although not every endeavor has been a triumph. For instance, the introduction of Instagram Stories, a replica of Snap Inc.’s ephemeral Stories on Snapchat, and Reels, which mirrors TikTok’s popular short-form videos with special effects, have managed to captivate users within Meta’s extensive social empire, boasting over three billion users.
Tim Bajarin, Chairman of Creative Strategies, a tech market research firm, commented on this strategy, drawing parallels between Zuckerberg and Jobs. “Jobs was the king of seeing, of letting someone else take the lead and coming in either second or third and doing it better than anybody, especially with the iPod, the iPhone and even the Apple Watch,” Bajarin explained. “While I do think Zuck has some of that mentality anyway, this is more of an opportunistic position.”
By creating Threads, Zuckerberg and his team have taken inspiration from Twitter, targeting a market hungry for an alternative platform to escape the toxic and contentious conversations that have plagued Twitter in recent times. The situation has been exacerbated since Elon Musk acquired the company for a staggering $44 billion towards the end of last year.
Bajarin further highlighted Twitter’s struggles, stating, “He has lost users, he has lost advertisers. And at the moment, he can change course at a whim, as he did last weekend when he limited how many Tweets you could read. The fact is that a lot of the world does not trust his leadership of Twitter and they really are looking for an alternative.”
Meta’s Threads aims to fill this void and provide users with a refreshing and safer social media experience. With Meta’s expertise and vast user base, Zuckerberg and his team are optimistic about carving out a significant space in the market and wooing disillusioned Twitter users.
Reimagining Threads: A New Era of Social Media
In a remarkable display of growth, Threads has garnered over 70 million sign-ups within hours of its unexpected launch on Thursday. Leveraging its existing user base and offering smooth importing of followers from Instagram, the app has quickly made its mark in the realm of social media.
Will Users Return?
However, the question that remains is whether these users will keep coming back to the app, especially considering the absence of several important features that are still being refined. According to Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, Meta (the company behind Threads) has yet to fully utilize its wide-ranging audience to promote the app.
Kay remarked, “Facebook, in its early days, thrived on virality. But today, with its immense pool of invaluable user information, Meta possesses the power to upsell and potentially generate incremental revenue.”
Musk’s Concerns and Legal Battle
Threads’ imitation of certain features has caused quite a stir, prompting Elon Musk to direct a letter to Mark Zuckerberg expressing his serious concerns about Meta’s alleged “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation” of Twitter’s “trade secrets” and other intellectual property. Additionally, it is worth noting that an app called Thread, created by Cynthia Zordich, wife of retired NFL player Michael Zordich, was launched in 2016 as a means of connecting women affiliated with professional football.
Wall Street’s Perspective
Despite the initial hype surrounding Threads, Wall Street analysts who cover Meta are cautious in their optimism. They believe that the app will only generate incremental revenue at best, with significant impact projected to commence in 2024. Nevertheless, Mark Zuckerberg has managed to regain some favor with investors following his past missteps and substantial cost-cutting measures in the unproven realm of the Metaverse. Only time will reveal whether this renewed clout will be sustained.