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Meta targets Twitter with Threads

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Meta's Threads is a new, Twitter-like social network.

A new rapidly-growing social media platform offers consumers – and retailers – an alternative to Twitter.

Instagram, the visually-oriented social network owned by Facebook parent Meta, has launched a new “text-sharing” app called Threads. Users log in with their Instagram credentials, which automatically carry over to Threads. 

The app offers users features such as a feed which includes threads posted by people they follow, and recommended content from other creators. Posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to five minutes in length.  Threads crossed 100 million sign-ups within five days of launch, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Monday, dethroning ChatGPT as the fastest-growing platform to reach that milestone, reported Reuters

In addition, users can share a Threads post to their Instagram story, or as a link on any other platform they choose. Meta says it is also planning to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub, the open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body responsible for open web standards. This would make Threads interoperable with other apps that also support the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress.

Threads is currently available in more than 100 countries for iOS and Android. Meta says it will soon add a number of new features, including improved recommendations in feed, as well as a more robust search function that makes it easier to follow topics and trends in real time. 

“Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas,” Meta said in a corporate blog post. “Just like on Instagram, with Threads you can follow and connect with friends and creators who share your interests – including the people you follow on Instagram and beyond.”

Twitter, retailers and consumers react

Nowhere in Meta’s announcement of Threads is there any mention of Twitter, but the new social network has many similarities to Twitter, which was acquired for $44 billion by multibillionaire and Tesla owner Elon Musk in October 2022. Twitter has responded with an official letter from one of its attorneys addressed to Meta chairman/CEO Mark Zuckerberg stating the company has serious concerns Meta has engaged in “”systematic, willful and unlawful misappropriation” of its trade secrets and intellectual property.

The letter goes on to allege Meta has hired “dozens” of former Twitter employees in the past year in an illegal effort to gain access to Twitter’s trade secrets and intellectual property, and state that Twitter intends to “strictly enforce” its intellectual property rights.

Meta has not yet publicly responded to the letter. However, top U.S. retailers including Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Home Depot, and CVS have all activated their Threads accounts. Zuckerberg has publicly posted on Threads that the service has already exceeded 100 million sign-ups, and CNBC reports that data from both Cloudfare and Similarweb indicates Twitter traffic has declined since the July 6 launch of Threads.

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