Meta launches Threads: will it compete with Twitter?

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Tomorrow, Thursday, 6 July 2023, Meta will officially launch its new Threads app.

Meta is the company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, but with the launch of Threads it wants to challenge Twitter directly. 

It is probably no coincidence that it decided to launch it right now, which is when Twitter seems to be having problems. 

Twitter’s problems

A few days ago Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, announced limitations on the number of tweets that can be read each day. 

Officially this would be a solution to the problem generated by scraping. 

Scraping is the activity done by various external bots of continuously downloading huge amounts of information, in the form of tweets, from the Twitter website. 

Being bots they do this at a very high speed, downloading huge amounts of information. This consumes resources of Twitter’s servers, which has long been trying to conserve them instead. 

In fact, the real underlying problem is economic, because the platform’s revenues have long been insufficient to cover all costs. 

When Musk took over as head of the company he immediately cut costs in impressive ways, such as laying off more than half the staff. Now he has evidently moved on to wanting to cut technical costs as well, such as those related to servers. 

He is also trying to increase revenues by promoting the Twitter Blue subscription. For example, the restrictions introduced Saturday had the greatest impact especially among simple users, while they were far less impactful for Blue users. 

What will be the future of Twitter after the advent of Threads by Meta?

There are many who think that the problems Twitter is having put its very survival at risk, but there are also many who believe that Elon Musk is doing well to try to restore the company even with drastic interventions such as the one on Saturday. 

Finally, there are also those who are simply waiting to see what consequences Musk’s decisions will have, without taking sides either for or against. 

What is certain is that Twitter would have had much less chance of surviving if a major clean-up campaign had not begun. Elon Musk himself initially warned that the company continued to lose money, but he also said that they were on track to return to profit.  

As of today, it is not known whether they have already returned to profit, but certainly expenses have decreased a great deal. Unfortunately, it seems that revenues have also decreased, and much of the company’s future will play out on this very point. 

Therefore, promoting the Twitter Blue subscription seems to be able to do nothing but good for the company’s coffers, pending increases in revenues from advertising as well. 

Twitter’s future right now is uncertain, but at least the clean-up campaign is underway. 

Meta and Facebook

The same cannot be said of Meta and Facebook. 

Facebook, which was once Twitter’s direct rival, does not seem to be doing very well, and it certainly has not begun a deep remediation campaign like that of Twitter.

On the contrary, the problems keep piling up without apparent solutions. 

But the real problem is Meta, which is the company that owns it. 

The company decided to jump into the Metaverse sector at the height of the bull run, but so far this decision has produced nothing but immense losses

Twitter was pulled from the stock market when all the shares ended up in the hands of Elon Musk, but Meta is still there. 

From the highs of September 2021, META’s stock on the stock market lost 77% until November 2022, but then made a big rebound since it abandoned the idea of focusing on the metaverse. In fact, the stock is now at about $286, up from $90 in November. However, as of September 2021 it was at over $360. 

Much of Meta’s revival actually comes through Instagram, and in fact Threads was born precisely as a kind of extension of Instagram. 

Meta launches Threads

Threads will be a microblogging app, probably very similar to Twitter. It will thus be Meta’s direct competitor to Twitter, but it may not necessarily prevail. 

In fact, loyal Twitter users are unlikely to budge. 

It is sufficient to note that there are already many alternatives to Twitter, from Mastodon to Bluesky via Nostr. 

Despite all these alternatives, to date the number of active Twitter users does not seem to have decreased. In fact, since the Musk era began they seem to have increased. 

Although no precise details are yet known about the app that will be launched tomorrow, it seems unlikely that it will take users away from Twitter merely because it is an alternative. 

Moreover, knowing Meta, it is hard to imagine that Threads will actually perform better than Twitter, since the opposite has often been the case in the past, with Facebook and Instagram always having the biggest problems. 

What will the crypto community do?

In particular, the crypto community so far seems to have had a rather cool reception to this innovation. 

Admittedly, one would have to see how the app works first to be able to judge it, but apparently the crypto community continues to be fond of Twitter. 

Besides, alternatives like Mastodon are decentralized, so in theory the crypto community should like them much more. Instead, they continue to prefer Twitter. 

It will not be at all easy to take users away from Twitter, especially if the current remediation campaign is successful. Perhaps Threads will be better suited to the Instagram community, even though text posts are not a successful content type on the popular pictures and videos app. 

Instead, it may be that Facebook users will eventually move to Threads, not least because the celebrated social network has long since entered a phase of stagnation and decay.