Meta’s Twitter clone Threads is now up to 106 million members, with its initial momentum slowing as behaviors start to normalize, and usage becomes a more indicative measure.
And we don’t have any usage stats as yet, with Meta still working to ensure the new platform keeps running – but Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has outlined some of the early development priorities for the app, which should see improvements rolling out very soon.
As per Mosseri, the key points of focus right now are:
One of the key omissions from the initial Threads design is a feed populated only with posts from the profiles you’ve chosen to follow in the app – which means that, right now, you’re only option is to sift through a listing of updates from profiles that the basic Threads algorithm thinks you might like.
This is also constructed based on your IG feed, so there’s an additional level of relevance, but users have been calling for a more specific feed, similar to the ‘For you’ versus ‘Following’ feed on Twitter. Mosseri says that this will be coming soon, with improvements shipping from this week.
At the same time, it would also be interesting to know whether this was an intentional decision.
Mosseri says that the Threads team felt like they needed to ship the app quickly, as the window was closing for a competitor app, but maybe, by forcing early users to see content from profiles they don’t already follow, as opposed to just building a feed of their existing IG connections (and seeing people replicate their Twitter follows in the app), that could help to expose people to more profiles that may be of interest, fueling more engagement.
Either way, this is coming, which will be a big addition for the app, bringing it into closer parity with Twitter.
The much-debated edit button is coming to Threads, despite Twitter’s long-standing reluctance to add one.
I mean, you do have a tweet editing option, of sorts, right now, if you’re a Twitter Blue subscriber. But Facebook and Instagram have offered post-editing for a long time, and Threads looks set to be more aligned with Meta’s approach on this front, with full post-editing to be enabled at some stage.
Which makes sense. Twitter’s concern is that by adding an edit button to its short messages, the context of the tweet can be significantly altered, which could be problematic for retweets, embeds, etc.
Threads, at 500 characters, are longer than tweets, and as noted, Meta’s offered post editing for years in its other apps, with minimal relative concerns on this front.
And a bonus – you won’t have to pay for it on Threads.
The Threads search option, right now, only lets you search for users – while there are no search tools at all on the current web app.
That’ll be updated shortly, enabling broader utility and discovery, which could help users connect to conversations of interest, while also providing more ways to find relevant Threads insights on trending topics.
Mosseri hasn’t mentioned whether there’ll be a trending module, which might actually go against the broader ethos of the app, in avoiding political and news discussion (or at least, lessening its presence in-stream). But improved discovery is on the initial update list, which will make it a more functional platform.
Mosseri hasn’t provided any specific notes on when a fully-functional desktop version of the app is coming, but it’s another element on the to-do list – and a big one for social media managers.
Obviously, most of your management time is conducted via a desktop PC, and as such, the sooner that Threads can be added to desktop – and post-scheduling can be added to the API – the better in this respect.
Though when it is made available on desktop, that’ll likely see a lot more brands posting more often, which is maybe something Meta wants to avoid early on, at least until it has an optional ‘Following’ feed active.
Still, it’s another key dot point on the development board.
As we reported yesterday, Threads is not available to European users yet due to regulatory checks and balances relating to the new EU Digital Markets Act.
Meta has provided some additional insight on this, with Meta’s Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman explaining that:
“We would have liked to offer Threads in the EU at the same time as other markets, and the app does meet GDPR requirements today. But building this offering against the backdrop of other regulatory requirements that have not yet been clarified would potentially take a lot longer, and in the face of this uncertainty, we prioritized offering this new product to as many people as possible.”
In other words, Meta’s still working to ensure that the app meets all of the latest EU regulations before launch, which will take a little longer to tick off. So rather than wait to build these elements into the app now, it chose to launch it everywhere else first.
As such, there’s still no timeline on when the app will be available in Europe as yet.
Deleting your account
Less of a coming update, and more a point of clarity, Mosseri has also explained that you can deactivate your Threads account without deleting your IG profile.
So the issue, as it stands, is that your Threads profile is connected to your IG account – so if you want to erase your presence entirely, you do have to delete both. But you can still deactivate your Threads account, if you choose, without getting rid of IG.
As Mosseri notes, this will also be addressed in a coming update.
The Threads team is also working on hashtags, voice notes, and photo and video tagging, while Meta’s also adding Branded Content tags, government-affiliated account labels, and fact-check markers, so the app meets its existing app specifications.
In essence, the app you’re looking at right now is only the basics of what it will be – which is significant to note, considering that it already has so many users.
Or members. Instagram has exceeded its expectations in this regard, by making it so easy to sign-up, but the simplification of that process may also be juicing the figures, and we won’t know anything much on this till Meta reports its actual Threads usage and engagement stats.
But I suspect that, with these new additions coming in, it will stick, for a large portion of users. It’s a new, fresh take on Twitter’s traditional turf, and that, along with related affiliation to IG, which has over a billion users, may be all that Meta needs to make it a big success.