Threads hits 30 million users a day after launch, putting Musk’s Twitter on notice

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Meta (META) Threads is live, and it’s already drawing millions of users, posing the biggest threat to Elon Musk’s Twitter yet.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg fired up his Twitter competitor on Wednesday and a day later said 30 million users had signed up for the service. Threads pose a unique challenge to Twitter. The platform, like other Twitter clones, has a similar setup to Musk’s social network.

On Threads you can post text, images, and short videos, as well as like, reply, comment, and share posts by other users. Zuckerberg seems acknowledged the similarities, posting the meme of Spider-Man pointing at another Spider-Man on his own Twitter account.

Musk seems to have noticed, as well. On Thursday, lawyers representing X Corp., the entity that owns Twitter, sent a letter to Zuckerberg threatening legal action against Meta for hiring former Twitter employees with knowledge of the company’s trade secrets, according to Semafor.

I’ve been using Threads since Wednesday night, and my iPhone hasn’t stopped pinging me about new followers. That isn’t a brag; I’m far from some kind of influencer. Rather it points to Threads’ biggest asset: its connection to Instagram.

Meta is positioning Threads as a kind of offshoot of its photo- and video-sharing app. And because of that, you can quickly follow everyone you follow on Instagram on Threads during the app’s signup process. That gives Threads an immediate advantage over competing offerings as it instantly fills the service with people you’re already interested in following.

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Threads, however, will need to do more than get the average Instagram user onboard to be a success. What makes Twitter such an interesting platform is the people who use it. More specifically, it’s the thought leaders, celebrities, politicians, journalists, and academics who make Twitter worth using. In order for Threads to become the new Twitter, it will need to get those same users to join the service and stick around.

On Thursday, Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino tweeted that Twitter is often imitated, but its community can’t be duplicated.

Threads is also lacking something Twitter isn’t: baggage. Since Musk took over the service in 2022, he’s slashed the company’s workforce, brought back banned users, alienated advertisers, and, more recently, limited the number of tweets users can view each day.

Musk says he implemented limits on how many tweets people can see to address data scraping and system manipulation.

Of course, Meta has its own history of problematic behavior including the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw a political consulting firm use the Facebook data of millions of users to aid in the election of former President Donald Trump.

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Threads could also put an even larger target on Meta’s back when it comes to its ongoing battle with the Federal Trade Commission. The commission is already seeking to break up Meta, claiming that it violates antitrust laws by using its massive power to crush or absorb smaller rivals — and adding a new platform that unseemly the look and feel of Twitter is unlikely to engender any positive sentiment.

Then there’s the matter of Threads not yet being available in the European Union. According to Bloomberg, Meta is waiting to learn more about how the EU’s Digital Markets Act will impact the company’s ability to share data between the two apps.

While Threads is far from a surefire Twitter killer, it’s difficult to count out Meta’s ability to successfully copy and roll out its own versions of competing apps and features. Either way, the new platform adds more fodder for the potential cage match between Zuckerberg and Musk.

And isn’t that all any of us want to see anyway?

Daniel Howley is the tech editor at Yahoo Finance. He’s been covering the tech industry since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @DanielHowley.

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