Everything to know about Threads, the Meta-owned app set to challenge Twitter

Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk avoided a cage fight last month, but the companies they oversee, Meta and Twitter respectively, are poised to square off in direct competition.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, revealed on Monday a new “conversation” app called Threads that appears to be the long-awaited counterpart to Twitter.

Scheduled to launch on Thursday, the platform will offer a place “for communities to come together to discuss everything from topics that interest you today to what’s trending tomorrow,” says an app store description.

“Whatever you are interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things – or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world,” app description added store.

Users, who must be 12 or older, will have the option to access Threads through a pre-existing Instagram account, according to a preview screenshot on the app-store page.

The platform will allow users to send short messages to a larger audience and respond when others post, as indicated in a screenshot preview.

A privacy policy provided in the app-store indicated that Threads may collect data from users relating to a number of categories: health and fitness, financial information, contact information, search and purchase history, among others.

Twitter, on the other hand, collects information from users when they use the platform, when users provide information directly, and when Twitter receives data from third parties, the company’s privacy policy states.

Threads logo is seen on a mobile phone screen in front of a computer screen displaying Twitter logo in Ankara, Turkiye, on July 4, 2023.

Photo by Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Responding sarcastically to the app’s news, Musk criticized Meta in a tweet: “Thank goodness they’re run so sanely,” he said. The comment referenced language used by Meta executives in a derisive description of Musk’s performance on Twitter.

Meta and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meta’s new app comes just days after Twitter weathered the latest in a series of hardships under Musk, suffering a weekend outage among thousands of users in multiple countries, according to online monitoring site DownDetector.

In turn, the platform imposed “temporary limits” on the number of posts users could view in a single day, Musk said on Saturday.

Musk, who runs Tesla and SpaceX, stepped down as CEO last month but has maintained a prominent role at the company as executive chairman and chief technology officer.

In recent months, Twitter seems to have targeted the services offered by Meta. In May, Twitter added encrypted messaging and announced plans to offer voice calling, both key features of the Meta-owned WhatsApp.

The clash between the two companies escalated into apparent animosity between Musk and Zuckerberg last month.

In response to a post that mentioned a Meta-owned Twitter counterpart, Musk said in a tweet that he was willing to fight Zuckerberg in a “cage match.”

On Instagram, Zuckerberg posted a screenshot of Musk’s tweet and a caption: “Send me the location.”

The fight between the rival billionaires did not materialize. On Monday, however, Musk trained with Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Georges St-Pierre, according to a tweet from St. Pierre that included a photo of Musk.

Threads’ launch also drew criticism from former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who took aim at the app’s data collection policy. “All your Threads,” Dorsey said. “They belong to us”.

Dorsey had previously criticized Musk’s leadership on Twitter, saying in April that “everything fell apart” on the platform after Musk’s takeover, CNBC reported.

Earlier this year, Dorsey launched its alternative app: Bluesky Social. The platform remains invite-only while it undergoes testing. The company didn’t offer a timeline for when it plans to go public with the site.

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