It’s day one for Threads, Meta’s new Twitter clone, and people are signing up in droves.
After only two hours live in the App Store, Threads already passed 2 million signups with no signs of slowing down. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted the milestone on his Threads account.
Threads was available for “pre-order” through iOS, notifying users who were alerted of its existence through a flashy Instagram cross-promotion. Users who opted in received a push notification when Threads went live on Wednesday afternoon and could immediately hop into Meta’s latest experiment in copycatting rivals’ features. Threads is deeply tied into Instagram and Instagram accounts now display a Threads user number so the counting is both transparent and happening in real time.
Zuckerberg also tweeted for the first time in more than a decade on Wednesday to celebrate his Twitter knock-off, which is likely to attract a ton of engagement as Twitter flails and other potential successor apps fail to consolidate its users in one place.
With Twitter on life support — and its owner implementing rate limits over the weekend — there’s a massive appetite for a replacement. Mastodon and Bluesky have both enjoyed their intervals of buzz, but both apps come with their own unique compromises. For Mastodon, that’s a sort of intimidating sign up process and general uncertainty about the fediverse. For Bluesky, early shitposts have given way to concerns that the platform will repeat the moderation mistakes of its forebear — and those of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who cheered Elon Musk’s takeover and now sits on Bluesky’s board.
Getting people to sign up for a new app isn’t easy, but it’s a lot easier than getting them to stick around. Meta’s decision to forgo a chronological feed with Threads — or even a feed just for users you follow — means that the company is counting on the same algorithmic mix to get users hooked on the app and keep them there. It’s unfortunate that Threads doesn’t clone Twitter’s best feature: a pure timeline unpolluted by algorithmic junk. All Twitter knockoffs seem to come with caveats these days and that’s certainly a big one.