For some, the past few months of Twitter have been a challenge. Some had gotten accustomed to Twitter being a safe space where they didn't have to see things they didn't want to read. Since Elon Musk took over and told the internet to "let that sink in," things have changed pretty significantly. With blood in the water, several platforms have been created in order to challenge the blue bird, but none have really had success. That is until Meta's Instagram got involved, launching Threads - a Meta-esque take on Twitter.
The trouble with Twitter
Elon Musk's takeover of the social network has caused a ton of consternation online. From the start, Musk's influence led to the platform's focus on monetization, rather than user experience. Ads and sponsored posts are now commonplace, which has led some users to feel like they're being bombarded with ads instead of engaging content.
He also reduced the staff by a significant percentage, leaving few people within the company who really knew how things worked. It created some technical issues, but none that have been truly problematic. However, the codebase was a disaster, which has made it difficult to implement new features in the timeline that Musk had originally hoped.
However, the biggest issue for users has been around content moderation. Musk came in promising an open and free platform free of thought policing, something that has become the norm on social media. In the beginning, it looked like things might play out that way, with previously banned accounts being reinstated in the first week or so. But, then things changed - accounts began being banned and throttled again. This angered people on all sides of the political spectrum.
The chaos at Twitter created a void that was going to be filled by someone. Mastodon took a stab at being the replacement, but signing up is not especially easy, which limits its possible reach. Then came BlueSky, a platform that started at Twitter and wanted to be a decentralized social network. However, the network also struggled to gain wide adoption.
Instagram challenges the beast
Several weeks ago, we saw parts of a presentation about Project 92, a rival for Twitter. This week, Instagram released Project 92, now called Threads. The new platform is built upon Instagram and uses Instagram accounts as its base. It even looks like Instagram, using nearly identical, if not rounded off, iconography.
The launch of Threads has been an interesting one. It launched a day earlier than it was supposed to and gained traction quickly. In fact, the platform is currently nearing the 100 million user account milestone. That is an impressive place to be, though it is important to note that the system does have a leg up on other platforms, as the accounts mostly already exist and Instagram users got notifications to join.
Threads are being pulled
But, it has not been without its oddities. For example, the feed is some sort of universal Uber Feed. The posts that you see as a user seem to have very little reason behind them. It's got nothing to do with who you follow or who those you follow interact with. Posts from random strangers show up constantly. Sometimes it creates new friends, especially when there were less than 500,000 users. But, overall, the feed is filled with absolute nonsense that most users would never care about.
In addition to the chaotic feed, there is a legal fight on the horizon. Threats of a lawsuit from Elon Musk and Twitter have been made, alleging that Meta and Instagram stole Twitter's proprietary information by hiring dozens of former Twitter employees who had that information. Meta has said that there is not a single member of the Threads team that is a former Twitter employee. If that is true, it will entirely negate Twitter's accusations, and if false, would likely derail Meta's defense.
No matter what happens with the lawsuit, Threads is an interesting place that is worth at least taking a look at if you have an Instagram account.