Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has set his sights on Twitter once again. Despite Twitter’s enduring popularity and its status as the go-to platform for public conversations online, Zuckerberg is determined to challenge its dominance. To that end, Meta has announced the upcoming release of Threads, a new app connected to Instagram that aims to provide a central hub for public discussions, much like Twitter.
Hit ‘em while they’re down
The timing of Meta’s move is strategic, as Twitter has been experiencing significant turmoil in recent months. Since Elon Musk acquired the social media platform, he has made several changes that have stirred controversy. Musk has altered Twitter’s algorithm for determining post visibility, discarded content moderation rules, and revamped the verification process. Furthermore, Musk recently imposed restrictions on the number of tweets users can read, citing concerns over data scraping. These developments have frustrated many Twitter users and created an opportunity for Zuckerberg to introduce Threads.
Meta’s executives have been discussing ways to capitalise on Twitter’s instability for quite some time. In response to the chaos at Twitter, Meta employees have contemplated building a rival service. Their discussions have culminated in the creation of Threads, a project born out of Instagram and internally known as Project 92. Users will be able to log into Threads using their Instagram accounts, according to previews displayed on the Apple App Store.
Meta has positioned Threads as a “sanely run” alternative to Twitter, taking a subtle jab at Musk’s perceived erratic behavior. While Musk and Twitter have yet to comment on Threads, the app has already garnered attention online. Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter’s founders, tweeted a screenshot of Threads’ data policy, which prompted a response from Musk himself.
Not going down without a fight
Launching Threads is not without its challenges for Meta. The company has been heavily investing in the development of the metaverse, an immersive digital world. However, this shift has been met with skepticism due to the metaverse’s limited mainstream adoption. Additionally, Meta has faced cost-cutting measures and questions about its position in the artificial intelligence race. Nonetheless, with over three billion users across its platforms, Meta remains Twitter’s most credible competitor.
While Meta’s deep pockets and massive user base give it an advantage over smaller platforms seeking to exploit Twitter’s weaknesses, it is important to note that Facebook’s popularity has been on the decline. Nevertheless, industry experts believe that Meta’s extensive user base makes it more likely for its copycat apps to succeed at the expense of Twitter. The rivalry between Facebook and Twitter has a long history. In its early days, Twitter rejected Zuckerberg’s offer to acquire the platform. During the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook aggressively promoted its live products and trending topics to compete with Twitter’s real-time conversation features. Zuckerberg has also focused on livestreaming video and trending hashtags, mirroring Twitter’s efforts to facilitate viral discussions.
Interestingly, Zuckerberg and Musk may soon face off in a different arena altogether. The two tech moguls have been privately discussing the possibility of a mixed martial arts match. While no date has been set, the idea of a fight between the two billionaires is gaining traction, and plans for the event are slowly taking shape.