Instagram launching Threads to take on Twitter as controversy heats up - The UpStream

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Instagram launching Threads to take on Twitter as controversy heats up

posted Sunday Jun 11, 2023 by Scott Ertz

Instagram launching Threads to take on Twitter as controversy heats up

Since Elon Musk first announced his intention to purchase Twitter, there has been no end to the controversies. Despite the chaos and major changes in policy, usage of the platform is still high. Some companies have tried to take on the success of Twitter, giving people who want to use something else a similar experience. So far, other services have failed to gain enough traction to matter. However, Meta is hoping to be the outlier with a planned service called Threads.

Instragram wants to challenge Twitter with Threads

Instagram is looking to push its way into the short-form social media market with a new service, likely to be called Threads. The name is clearly a take on the common process of posting several tweets on Twitter in a row telling a single story, known as a Twitter Thread. The new service, however, is currently only being referred to internally as "Project 92."

A screenshot taken by The Verge from a presentation inside the company shows some of the currently working UI, and it all looks very familiar. The feed looks exactly how you would expect a Twitter clone from Instagram to look. Take the standard Instagram feed and remove the images at the top, and you've got the Project 92 Feed. Replies are exactly the same - an Instagram post without the photo.

Even the iconography is the same - under a post, you've got the heart for likes, the chat bubble for comments, and the paper airplane for sharing. The biggest difference is that there is a refresh icon between comment and share, which you would have to assume is for "retweeting" a post.

It's important to remember that nothing from this presentation is final. The entire project is still in development, and likely still in concept. In the end, the company may not release the project at all, or it could storm the market and take significant market share from Twitter.

Succeeding where others have failed

Meta is hoping to succeed where others have failed - taking on Twitter. There have been other short-form social media platforms in the past, all aiming at the Blue Bird. However, none of these services have had any major success for various reasons.

Mastodon is the best-known direct alternative, as it has been the place that Elon Musk haters have tried to migrate to. However, it has suffered from a couple of major issues - the biggest being that it's nearly impossible to join. There are loopholes to jump through, and knowledge to acquire before signing up. The issues come primarily from the distributed nature of the system, but it does prevent any real success.

Hive Social is another alternative service that had a lot of early success. In fact, just after the full takeover of Twitter, Hive Social saw a huge increase in users. However, the increase in users revealed some issues - such as mishandling of user data. Oops. That slowed down the service's growth and usage. However, the service was shut down and reworked to solve these issues, but it hasn't made the service a success.

Instagram is hoping that the Threads service will be able to pick up where these other services have failed. Threads is said to be based on ActivityPub, the protocol that underpins Mastodon but will use an existing Instagram account, making it easy to join. Plus, users generally already have their opinions on the way Meta handles data, so that has either already been a disqualifier or it won't matter.


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