In just 48 hours, Meta’s Twitter alternative app received over 60 million downloads as well as a sharply worded letter from a Twitter lawyer, which alleged that Meta hired Twitter employees and assigned them to help build Threads. A Meta spokesman denied the charge.
As for now, none of us are able to predict accurately whether Threads can sustain its early momentum – it is such early days after all. With so many sign-ups, analysts and investors said the launch appeared to be an early success and that it could become attractive for advertisers if the platform achieves sufficient scale.
Threads initially isn’t carrying advertising, but several ad-agency executives expect if it does it will have an innate advantage over other platforms because of its connection to Meta’s ecosystem. According to Zuckerberg, the team’s main concern for now is developing user engagement.
Twitter, which struggled with losses and other problems before Musk took over, has been dealing with the departure of advertisers since then after the new owner upended many of the site’s policies about content moderation. Brands have been cautious about resuming their spending on Twitter, and Musk recently brought in Linda Yaccarino, a seasoned ad executive, to be CEO. Since taking over last month, Yaccarino has made overtures toward addressing advertisers’ concerns in an attempt to bring them back.
Threads’ rapid takeoff put Elon Musk on the defensive. Zuckerberg’s team moved aggressively to launch the app as Twitter recently faced user unrest over a new policy limiting how many posts can be viewed daily. A few hours after Threads went live, Musk, who acquired Twitter in October, tweeted: “It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”
On Thursday, a lawyer for Twitter sent a letter to Meta calling Threads a copycat and accused Meta of hiring dozens of former Twitter employees and assigning them to work on Threads. “Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights, and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets,” the letter says. Semafor earlier reported the letter.
Andy Stone, a Meta spokesman, responded on that platform: “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee—that’s just not a thing.”
Nevertheless, the launch hasn’t been a flawless one. Some users complained about a number of features that are absent from the app. Among those features are the ability to create lists that display threads from specific accounts, the ability to watch full-screen videos horizontally and the ability to search for specific posts.
The new app will need to do more to become a legitimate alternative to Twitter. Although Threads has secured 30 million sign-ups, it will need to get hundreds of millions of returning users to effectively compete. Twitter has 363.7 million monthly active users, according to an estimate by Insider Intelligence.