Meta didn't keep its promises for Instagram and Facebook; why will it do the same with Threads? 

July 14, 2023
3 min read
Featured Image Credit: Arewa Talent

Threads, a platform by Meta (owners of Instagram and Facebook), gathered 100 million users in four days, making it the first and only social media platform to have achieved such a feat.

Threads is a Twitter clone that Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has said will achieve what the microblogging site couldn't.

When Threads got to 70 million signups even Zuckerberg said the feat was beyond expectation.

How was Meta able to get so many signups?

Timing was perhaps Meta's biggest ally in pulling so many signups. The company struck when people weren't happy with Twitter.


Since Elon Musk became Twitter CEO, the company has increased ads. Now, you see ads under the replies to a tweet.

And it's not just Twitter ads.

There have also been complaints of increased misinformation and hate speech on the platform.

Researchers from US institutions including the University of California, Los Angeles and Oregon State University analysed the platform and provided data that revealed the use of hate speech doubled after Musk became CEO of Twitter.

Musk also reduced the prestigious verification badge to an $8 monthly subscription, making it easy for even copycat accounts to get verified.

The final blow was putting a cap on the number of Tweets a person can read in a day.

This was the perfect time for Zuckerberg to strike and he did.

Threads can be better than Twitter in many ways

Zuckerberg said Threads is a better platform for public discussion than Twitter.

"It'll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn't nailed it. Hopefully, we will." Zuckerberg said on his new platform.

Musk isn't taking the attack sitting though. He's called Threads a copy-and-paste version of Twitter, even threatening a lawsuit against the platform.

However, Threads is still up and running and Zuckerberg says unlike Twitter, it will focus on kindness and avoid hostility and hate speech.

Meta's track record with Facebook and Instagram

Threads has positioned itself to be a safer, kinder version of Twitter; it even says it won't run ads on the platform until it reaches 1 billion users.

Going by what Meta has done with its other social media platforms, however, it probably won't be rainbows and unicorns for long.

Instagram, for example, was built as a platform to keep in touch with friends with photos and videos but in Meta's bid to remain competitive, the platform has changed drastically.

It created Instagram Reels to compete with TikTok and Instagram Stories to stay ahead of Snapchat.

Instagram and Facebook have gone from sharing moments with loved ones to serving videos that keep you on the app for as long as possible.

We could argue that the platforms evolved to ensure competitiveness, therefore profitability. However, changing the original nature of a platform is just some of the reasons Meta may not keep its promise about what Threads is meant to be.

Threads may not do better than Twitter

Facebook has about 2.6 billion users while Instagram has over a billion. This means Meta is sitting on the data of billions of people. It probably knows more about the citizens of a country than their government do, and this could be a bad thing.

In 2016, Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest data of 80 million Facebook users for psychographic ad targeting.

In another scenario, 530 million people had their data including personal information like phone numbers leaked from Facebook.

Meta has also been accused of collecting people's data without their consent. In 2013, it acquired a virtual private network (VPN) app called Onavo and used it to collect data on people when they were not using Facebook.

This move reportedly helped Meta make business decisions such as acquiring WhatsApp, and Instagram, and also copying features from competitors like Snapchat.

If Threads truly grows into a mammoth like Facebook, all major social media platforms will essentially be controlled by Meta. Although Musk might have annoyed us with several Twitter policies, is Zuckerberg really the person to run to?

He's a geek, a sucker for Blockchain and an all-round tech lover. Find me on Twitter @BoluAbiodun1.
He's a geek, a sucker for Blockchain and an all-round tech lover. Find me on Twitter @BoluAbiodun1.
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He's a geek, a sucker for Blockchain and an all-round tech lover. Find me on Twitter @BoluAbiodun1.

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