Mark Zuckerberg Steps on Elon Musk’s Toes with Twitter Rival App


Meta Launched Text-Sharing App

On Thursday, social media giant Meta Platforms rolled out a standalone Twitter-like text-sharing platform called Threads. Members can post up to 500 characters and include links, photos, and videos with duration of up to five minutes. [1]

The new service offers an easy way to get started, as users have the option to login with their Instagram accounts. Their usernames and verification will carry over to Threads and they can follow the same accounts they do on Instagram. The firm plans compatibility with the open ActivityPub protocol, which would make it interoperable with apps like Mastodon, the decentralized social network service that has gained prominence recently.

Threads is available for iOS and Android, in over 100 countries. Countries of the European Union do not appear to be part of the rollout. This exclusion could be attributed to privacy concerns, given the EU's recent Digital Markets Act [2] and the €1.2 billion fine authorities imposed on Meta for transferring user data to the US. [3]

Threads Takes on Twitter

With Threads, Meta Platforms expands its social media empire, with a foray into microblogging and a direct challenge to Twitter, which was acquired by Tesla Motor's CEO Elon Musk late-last year. Under the leadership of the self-proclaimed "free speech absolutist" [4], Twitter has been on a bumpy-ride, with layoffs, policy changes and overall messy decision-making.

Twitter is the leader of social text-sharing social landscape. According to the last report by the company before Elon Musk took over and made it private, the platform had an average of 237.8 million monetizable daily active usage (mDAU), as of the end of Q2 2022. [5]

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According to a Threads post by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Meta's new service reached five million signups within the first four hours [6]. The firm does not publish Instagram-specific metrics, but had an average of 980 million daily active users (DAUs) on its platforms, excluding Facebook, as of the end of Q1 2023. [7]

Musk-Zuckerberg Rivalry

The two tech moguls have very different management styles and views around free speech and social media. Around a year ago, Mr Musk had called Meta's leader "Mark Zuckerberg the Fourteenth" due to his iron grip on social media, since he controls Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. [8]

After launching the Twitter-like Threads platform, Mr Zuckerberg tweeted -for the first time in years- a picture of two identical Spidermans pointing at each other [9]. This can be viewed as a joyful acknowledgment of their face-off on the microblogging arena. The two CEOs have been taking jabs at each other for a long time and a few weeks back Musk challenged Zuckerberg to cage fight, but it is unclear whether they are actually going through with such a match. [10]

Meta Regains its Mojo

After a brutal past year, Meta Platforms seems to be regaining its mojo in 2023, which its CEO has dubbed as the "Year of Efficiency"[11]. Its stock price more than doubled in the first half, as investors reacted positively to the cost cutting-efforts and the shift away from the obscure Metaverse and into Artificial Intelligence.

The social media juggernaut returned to Revenue growth in Q1, advertising recovered, its user base expanded [12] and now moves into Twitter's turf with the launch of Threads. The link with Instagram gives it good chances of success, as it would only need to attract part of its IG users to the text-sharing platform, in order to compete with Twitter.

However, Meta does not have a very good track record when it comes to launching standalone applications. Both Instagram and WhatsApp after all, are acquisitions and not Meta-developed platforms.

Nikos Tzabouras

Senior Financial Editorial Writer

Nikos Tzabouras is a graduate of the Department of International & European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business. He has a long time presence at FXCM, as he joined the company in 2011. He has served from multiple positions, but specializes in financial market analysis and commentary.

With his educational background in international relations, he emphasizes not only on Technical Analysis but also in Fundamental Analysis and Geopolitics – which have been having increasing impact on financial markets. He has longtime experience in market analysis and as a host of educational trading courses via online and in-person sessions and conferences.



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