Jul 22, 2023

Meta’s New App Threads: Can You Have Your Cake and Eat it Too?

Josie Barton

With the birth of Mark Zuckerberg’s new app, Threads, Twitter is on its toes in anticipation of its demise. Can Twitter recover from this? And are Zuckerberg’s efforts imitating or innovative? Let’s find out…

In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. What is Threads?
  2. Covering the controversy
  3. Threads and marketing

What is Threads?

What has the Instagram team come up with and how is this new app going to influence how users consume and spread media?

A photo of the new app Threads shows its feed.
Honing in on content sharing and text-based messages, Threads was released on June 5 by the Instagram team. Image courtesy of Meta.

Built by the Facebook and Instagram team, Threads is a new app similar to Twitter, where users can share updates and join public conversations. Aiming to “take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas,” Mark Zuckerberg’s vision is to create a space where people can interact through text-based conversations using Instagram’s similar safety and user controls.

Your “thread” on Threads is occupied by posts from people you follow as well as recommended content (like Instagram), and you can share posts to Threads which will show up on your followers’ threads. With tools to enable conversations, hinder posts, and hide profiles, like Instagram, you can block, report, or unfollow users through profile settings.

Investing more than $16 billion since 2016, Meta has also incorporated a system that connects with ActivityPub, a social networking protocol for delivering large amounts of different content to the public. Through ActivityPub, developers can connect their Threads accounts through website design apps like Wordpress and Mastodon in which many bloggers, businesses, and creators utilize. Mark Zuckerburg is currently introducing Threads to over 100 countries in iOS and Android.

Covering the Controversy

Is Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads a contender to Elon Musk’s Twitter? And what’s this controversy all about–and why does it matter?!

Two side-by-side screenshots of twitter (left) and Threads (right) show a comparison of their feeds
Almost identical in style, widgets, and purpose, Threads is quickly becoming a “Twitter Killer.”

Currently absorbing 100 million users today, Meta’s new app exceeded their expectations of a total of 70 million users. With this in mind, the notorious creator of apps, Mark Zuckerberg, was ecstatic with the influx of users. Although successful, this new app does not come without its complications. If you simply take a moment to create a Threads account and view your feed, you’ll immediately recognize the design.

From the structure of posts that pop up in real time to the widgets that direct your activity at the bottom of your screen, the Treads app is almost identical to Twitter’s. But Zuckerberg has a hand up on Musk--there are currently more than 2.35 billion Instagram users, and Threads offers a seamless way to jump over to the new app with users’ information stored from Instagram and directed to the new app.

Just like the controversy surrounding Instagram’s Reels and its similarity to TikTok’s short videos, Zuckerberg’s new app is causing an uproar from Elon Musk’s team. Beginning as a social networking platform, Twitter was started in 2006 and eventually bought by Musk in 2022 for $44 billion. With its recent limit on utilization, it looks like Twitter users are recoiling and investing more of their time into Threads (which currently does not pose a usage limit).

Legal Actions

A note from Musk’s legal representative on Meta’s actions
From one legal team to another, Elon Musk’s cross-examination of Meta’s efforts may be futile. Image courtesy of Semafor.

Although quickly growing and developing, Threads poses a great threat to Twitter, and Musk is not letting Zuckerberg’s actions pass him by. The Twitter team argues that Threads violates Twitter’s “intellectual property rights,” engaging in “unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”

Claiming that Meta has accumulated numerous former Twitter employees who have information on Twitter’s confidential information, Musk is taking this situation seriously. He tweeted “Competition is acceptable, but cheating is not” in response to the news.

Although posing a threat, the Meta team does not seem fazed by Musk’s efforts to diminish the up-and-coming app. Claiming that “No one on the Threads engineering team has previously worked for Twitter–that simply doesn’t happen,” Meta expected Elon’s probing.

Now known as "X," Elon Musk rebranded Twitter over the July 21 weekend to send the message that X is the new "everything app." On July 24, the owner Tweeted "The Twitter name made sense when it was just 140 character messages going back and forth – like birds tweeting – but now you can post almost anything, including several hours of video. In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world."


The Threads app is shown on a phone surrounded by other social media apps
Is Threads copying Twitter? Musk sure thinks so.

Threads is an up-and-coming social media app that still has to work out some kinks. Unlike Twitter and similar to Instagram, Threads has one feed blending followers and recommended content. Plus, without a trending page or widget, it is difficult to see what is popular and what is not.

Although Mark Zuckerberg is happy with his new social media app release and excited for future developments, Musk is visibly annoyed with Zuckerberg’s lack of accountability.

Hashtags, private messaging, following, searching, and liking: All of these app functions are prevalent in both Twitter and Threads. Alike to Twitter, users can share written text with their followers, yet Threads might have a hand up in this regard. Almost doubling the text character amount, Threads allows for more of a conversational atmosphere rather than quick message sharing-though that is still your prerogative to do so.  


With the new Threads app, privacy concerns are going down the drain. Unlike Twitter, the “convenience” of the app’s application uncovers some concerns. By drawing user’s personal information from Instagram, the new app can easily use your information to not only create the same profile, but it can also aid marketers (through third-party cookies) with their efforts. They can market the same ads to the same people on yet another app, and with the transfer of information from its partner app, Meta has already gained user compliance. Note to self: always read terms of service (They’re updated constantly).

A Twitter post shows Elon Musk responding to Meta’s post about Threads
With sarcasm and a touch of passive aggression, Elon Musk is clear about his distaste for Mark Zuckerberg’s recent actions. Image courtesy of Twitter.

How Will Threads Impact Marketing?

Through a direct influence on consumerism, Threads is satisfied with its sudden influx of users.

Someone holds an iphone showing a social media feed
Building a more targeted community is easier than ever with Threads.

All social media have a large impact on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Threads is following suit. Twitter is the perfect platform to seek out answers to some difficult questions. As many businesses and experts have Twitter accounts, users turn to Twitter for ideas and suggestions through a simple search and find. With a longer character limit than Twitter, Threads is a potential breeding ground for SEOs and digital marketers to post more in-depth content, which is appealing to the average user.

With a direct influence from Instagram, digital marketers have another leg up to Twitter’s strategy. Directly bringing followers, posts, and popularity from Instagram, Threads users don’t have to start from the bottom. After creating a profile, digital marketers are going to want to get ahead in the game, strategizing their approach for their existing--and new--followers. Although convenient, this function does prohibit growth. It is already difficult for smaller businesses, blog sites, or marketers to gain profile traction on Twitter so people are questioning--do up-and-comers even have a chance to succeed on Threads?

Behavioral advertising, or target marketing, will continue to grow in popularity. Even with a vast decrease of third-party cookie usage across influencing platforms, Meta has continued to prosper off of the information users offer up. Through behavioral advertising, it is easier than ever for ad agencies and marketers to promote their products and services with the ability to gain insight on user habits (searches, followers, interests) and use that information to their advantage. Although contextual advertising is making a resurgence, Zuckerburg continues to gorge himself on third-party cookies.

Who Has Hopped on the Trend?

Celebrities and tv personalities alike have jumped on the trend and downloaded Meta’s new app. Take a look at their online presence so far.

A photo shows two side by sides of a threads feed from Gordon Ramsay and Shakira
Starting fresh (but not really), these celebrities have already shared their lives on this new app. Image Courtesy of Threads.

Celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Kardashian, Shakira, Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, and Gordon Ramsay have quickly hopped on the trend of downloading and engaging in conversation on the new app. 

Diving into the deep end, Ramsay jumped on the trend and downloaded Threads the first week it was released. His very first post read “Is this where I find the lamb sauce?” Similarly, Parker has already created posts and replied to many. Her first post read “Morning all. Posting. With optimism. X, SJ.”

Settling The Spat

Smart and somewhat cheeky Zuckerberg sneaked in a small downside to the new app: You must have an Instagram account to create a Threads account. Because of this disclaimer, People who want to use Threads must then invest their time, personal information, and possibly money into Instagram as well– we see what you did there, Mark.

Whether Threads really does develop into the “new Twitter” or it burns to the ground, it will be interesting to see what new innovative techniques these platforms–and their fathers–bring to the table.