Mark Zuckerberg has thrown down the gauntlet.
Meta launched its Twitter rival Wednesday. Threads, billed as an app to “share ideas & trends with text,” is available for iOS and Android.
“Let’s do this. Welcome to Threads,” Zuckerberg, CEO of Instagram owner Meta, posted on the new app.
Threads is essentially a text-based version of Instagram. You log in using your Instagram account. It uses your Instagram username and you can follow the same people you already follow on your Instagram account. You can also customize your profile for Threads. Posts can be up to 500 characters long and can include links, photos and videos up to 5 minutes in length.
In March, Meta said it was exploring a text-based platform where “creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests.” Meta did not respond to a request for comment.
“We believe Zuckerberg and Meta are looking to aggressively launch Threads and gain share from some of the Twitter fallout,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives told USA TODAY.
Piggybacking on Instagram, which has more than 2 billion monthly active users, could help Threads gain traction. In the Facebook tradition, Instagram frequently introduces features pioneered by other social media platforms.
Threads could be a threat to Twitter, which has become controversial under new owner Elon Musk. Disaffected users have flocked to alternatives including Bluesky, Mastodon and Post.
Musk recently capped how many posts some Twitter users can see on the platform. He said it was a temporary “emergency measure” “to address extreme levels of data scraping & system manipulation.” On Tuesday, Twitter said the restrictions “affect a small percentage of people using the platform, and we will provide an update when the work is complete.”
USA TODAY reached out to Twitter for comment and received an automated reply with a poop emoji.
Even with Twitter’s challenges, Ives says Meta will face significant hurdles trying to unseat Twitter.
“Leveraging off its Instagram installed base makes a ton of sense but we believe this will be an uphill battle to gain market share at scale with fierce competition,” he said.
He also pointed out that Meta, which has undergone multiple rounds of layoffs, is spread thin across many initiatives.
Forrester research director Mike Proulx says previous Meta apps such as Slingshot, Paper, Rooms and IGTV have foundered then shut down.
“If ‘Threads’ sounds familiar, that’s because it launched as an Instagram companion app in 2019 and was shut down two years later,” Proulx said in an email.
The Thread product launch comes as Musk and Zuckerberg make noise about staging a billionaire brawl.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story should have said Threads allows users to follow the same people they follow on Instagram.