It’s pretty much impossible to ignore the battle that’s currently raging between Twitter and Threads. Of course, Twitter has been a permanent mainstay of the news media since Elon Musk’s buyout last year, but now, it’s being challenged by Mark Zuckerberg and Meta, who have introduced a brand new competitor in the form of Threads.
So, what is Threads? In short, it’s an alternative app to Twitter that uses your Instagram credentials. It’s a very similar experience to Twitter on a frontend basis; so much so, in fact, that Musk himself has threatened to sue Meta for intellectual property theft, although Meta has waved off Musk’s threats.
With battle lines very thoroughly drawn, then, who is going to emerge victorious in the great social media war about to erupt? Obviously, we don’t know for sure whether Threads or Twitter will come out on top, but we can make some educated guesses based on information we’ve already got. Let’s take a look at this rivalry and see what we can glean!
Twitter already has an established user base
Whenever conversations around Twitter’s supposed death emerge, the same counterargument always appears: Twitter has a dedicated user base, and although a vocal group of users appear determined to leave, the fact is that the majority of Twitter users have remained on the platform.
As such, Meta and Threads have their work cut out for them if they want to eat into even a portion of Twitter’s user base. Threads doesn’t have the name recognition that Twitter does, so it’s going to have a long road ahead of it if it wants to prove a genuine rival to Twitter and not just a flash in the pan.
Threads has Meta behind it
Although we don’t know if Threads will be able to kill Twitter, one thing’s for sure: it will almost certainly succeed in killing other Twitter rivals. As pointed out by Wired, Threads has a dedicated team of engineers and a huge amount of financial backing, which other Twitter competitors simply can’t field.
Of course, Musk’s own wealth is considerable; he’s currently sitting at the top of the world’s richest men list, having displaced Bernard Arnault (he also comfortably outstrips Amazon’s Jeff Bezos). As such, you can expect Musk to throw as much money as he wants at making Twitter a success. Still, Meta is a formidable force in the tech world, and that clout matters.
Nothing else has killed Twitter yet
Will Threads succeed where other apps have failed? Many other Twitter competitors have risen – and, arguably, fallen – since the chaos began late last year. Apps like Mastodon and Bluesky garnered initial public interest but then quickly faded from sight, proving to be little more than fads rather than viable Twitter alternatives.
The fact is that as an established and proven brand, Twitter has staying power that many of its rivals simply don’t. Threads is a new name, and even if it has Meta’s advertising prowess behind it, many people might still be wary of jumping ship if they don’t fully understand what Threads is offering.
You can simply sign up to Threads via Instagram
One major advantage Threads has over Twitter is that you probably already have an account for it, even if you don’t know it yet. You can sign up for Threads simply by using your Instagram credentials; in fact, that’s the only way you can join Threads right now, since it’s technically an extension of Meta’s “other” app.
This means that many people will be able to discover Threads without needing to undergo a lengthy and annoying signup process, which can be one of the major stumbling blocks to building a big user base. If you’ve got an Instagram account, you can download and try out Threads with very little extra effort.
There are privacy concerns around Threads
In addition, it’s not currently possible to delete your Threads account without deleting your Instagram account, which means that if you want to leave Threads but you want to continue using Instagram, you don’t have that option. This is in contrast to Twitter, which remains a standalone app where you can delete your account if you so wish.
Twitter is still in chaos
Although the Twitter chaos has arguably subsided somewhat since its laughably manic peak, the app continues to be mired in a wealth of controversies and problems. The latest of these is Elon Musk’s restriction of tweet viewing depending on whether a user is verified or not, which instantly met with a firestorm of criticism and resistance from irate users.
Threads might find it easy to capitalise on Twitter’s chaos and install itself as the sensible, stable alternative to Elon Musk’s whims. Of course, if Threads itself goes through teething problems (which isn’t unlikely, given that microblogging is still seen as a risky proposition business-wise), then it could be that both apps end up representing a Hobson’s choice.
Naturally, we can’t determine whether Threads or Twitter will win the social media war. After it was released, Threads picked up a surprising amount of users very quickly, and Twitter continues to make decisions that seem to be alienating its core user base, which means that at the moment, it looks like Threads might meet with success. This is a notably capricious world, though, and things change on a dime, so don’t expect a definitive answer to this question until after the dust settles.