It’s official, then. Like a great white (no wait: blue) shark scenting blood in the water, Meta is capitalising on the latest Twitter drama by setting the release date for its new Threads app as… this Thursday!
Threads, as previously reported, is being positioned as “an Instagram app” and the free download can now be pre-ordered from Apple’s App Store. The release date is set as 6 July, and that’s confirmed by an official Threads website with a countdown to around 7am PST that day.
“Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow,” is how the App Store blurb describes it. Threads will use Instagram’s social graph so that people can follow the same accounts they follow on the parent app
“Whatever it is you’re 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.”
In a company-wide meeting last month, the details of which were swiftly leaked, Meta’s chief product officer Chris Cox described Threads as “our response to Twitter”, adding that “we’ve been hearing from creators and public figures who are interested in having a platform that is sanely run, that they believe that they can trust and rely upon for distribution”.
Instagram has been courting traditional celebrities and social influencers alike to be part of Threads from day one. We’d expect plenty of prominent musicians to be among them, even if there are concerns about Yet Another Social Platform with an algorithm hungry for original content.
Meta’s track record launching standalone apps that clone other services is patchy, to say the least. Poke. Slingshot. Lasso. Riff. Rooms. Paper. Super. Move. Neighborhoods. Sparked… There’s no shame in experiments that don’t quite pay off, but the list is just a reminder that Threads’ success is not guaranteed.
Still, this app is more than just an experiment: we can expect a big push at exactly the time when Twitter is under fire for its latest capricious policy change – rate-limiting the users whose eyeballs (on ads) are responsible for the majority of its revenues.
One final thought on Threads. Meta’s UGC-focused music licences have traditionally covered Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus. Will Threads fall under that? Because one of Twitter’s other Achilles heels right now is music licensing, as illustrated by a recent lawsuit from music publishers.
If Threads is properly licensed for UGC music content, it will be another interesting facet of its competition with Twitter. But for now, let’s await Thursday’s launch and see what the new app is capable of, and which music stars are on board.