Mark Zuckerberg released his upper-cut punch to Elon Musk’s Twitter a day early. Meta’s new app Threads released today, with Zuckerberg announcing the new Instagram-based app “for text updates and public conversations” is available in over 100 countries for iOS and Android.
“Instagram is where billions of people around the world connect over photos and videos. Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas” said a spokesperson for Meta.
Users can log into their Instagram accounts and details like their username and verification settings will carry over. There’s also the option to customize and build a new profile. The platform won’t prevent people without accounts from seeing Threads posts or put limits on the number of posts users can view, like Twitter began to recently.
Users’ feeds on Threads are populated by people users follow and “recommended content” from Meta.
Users can post up to 500 characters of text — compared to Twitter’s 280-character limit — with links, photos and videos up to five minutes in length. Posts on Threads can also be posted on Instagram stories or shared as a link.
“Our vision is that Threads will be a new app more focused on text and dialogue, modeled after what Instagram has done for photo and video,” said a spokesperson for Meta.
Almost all of the same features on Instagram are also available, like screen reader, AI-generated image descriptions, public or private account settings, and safety features, like blocking, reporting and restricting. Any blocked accounts on Instagram will also carry over.
People who are under 16 years old, or 18 years old in certain countries, will default to a private profile when they join Threads.
The Meta spokesperson said over email that soon more features will be available, such as improved recommendations in the feed and updates to search.
As promised, the app will be compatible with ActivityPub, making Threads interoperable with open-source social networks such as Mastodon. Public profiles on Threads will be accessible from other apps, too.
“Our vision is that people using compatible apps will be able to follow and interact with people on Threads without having a Threads account, and vice versa, ushering in a new era of diverse and interconnected networks,” said a spokesperson for Meta.
The spokesperson also pointed out that this supports developers building new features and the ability to “easily plug into other open social networks, accelerating the pace of innovation and experimentation.” Compatible apps will set their own community standards and content moderation policies.
“We believe this decentralized approach, similar to the protocols governing email and the web itself, will play an important role in the future of online platforms,” said a spokesperson for Meta.