Things got spiced up a couple of weeks back as Twitter boss and billionaire Elon Musk challenged his Meta counterpart Mark Zuckerberg for a cage match, while stating that the fight could happen at Rome’s Colosseum.
Yes, the fight has indeed started, but not in the ring. On July 5, Mark Zuckerberg posted his first tweet in 11 years, while posting the popular meme of identical Spider-Men facing off.
Elon Musk replied with a laughing face emoticon in reply to a tweet that said Meta’s new ‘Threads’ app has been made using a keyword with only the keys for Copy and Paste features.
However, the ‘News of The 2023’ is that Mark Zuckerberg, after taking on Snapchat and TikTok through Instagram’s ‘Story’ and ‘Reel’, has now chosen his next target in the form of Elon Musk, by launching ‘Threads’.
‘Threads’ Is An Instant Hit
While alternatives like ‘Mastodon’ and ‘Blue Sky’ saw an uptick in subscribers after Elon Musk took over Twitter in October 2022, none of them has been able to pose any problem for the micro-blogging platform, which, as per the 2023 stats, has 353.90 million users (3.93% decrease from 2022). It is worth mentioning that ‘Mastodon’ and ‘Blue Sky’ work on a new phenomenon called ‘Decentralized Social Media Protocols’.
However, things have been different for ‘Threads’. It has garnered 10 million subscribers (and the number is still growing), since its July 6 launch. However, regulatory constraints have ensured that the European Union countries won’t be able to enjoy the services of the app.
Brands like Billboard, HBO, NPR and Netflix have already set up their accounts on Threads.
Thread users will need an Instagram account to log in. After signing up, they can follow the same accounts they follow on Instagram.
The app has similarities with Twitter. Retweets will be called “Reposts” and tweets will be mentioned as “Threads”. Posts on Threads can be 500 characters long, compared to Twitter’s 280, while videos with a maximum span of five minutes can also be posted. Also, a post can be shared as a link on other platforms. Along with these, users can unfollow, block, restrict or report profiles/accounts. Post replies will have the ‘Filter’ option as well.
While Threads will have similarities with Mastodon, Meta is also reportedly planning to make the app compatible with ActivityPub, thus entering the domain of ‘Decentralized Social Media’, where social networks are going to be interoperable, and thus allowing the Threads users to take their accounts and followers to other ActivityPub-supported apps.
Zuckerburg’s First Punch A Well-Timed One
As per the Guardian, Meta won’t accept ads on Threads for 2023.
“Currently, the main feed is a mixture of content that users follow, as well as content recommended from the algorithm. There are currently no plans to allow people to limit that to only people they follow. People will keep their usernames from Instagram, reducing the possibility of people name-squatting high-profile usernames,” the report stated.
While people are entitled to call ‘Threads’ the copycat version of Twitter, due to the similarities between the two, Mark Zuckerberg followed similar practices when he took on TikTok and Snapchat. However, the timing of the app’s launch couldn’t have been a better one, as since October 2022, Twitter’s brand value has taken a nosedive due to Elon Musk’s erratic way of handling the micro-blogging platform’s affairs.
It all started with Elon Musk firing the micro-blogging firm’s entire leadership and 70% of the staffers (it has gone over 80% now). These were followed by the chaotic launch of ‘Twitter Blue’. In the meantime, advertisers started pulling out of the platform.
Facing hate speech-related lawsuits across the countries due to its updated content moderation policy, failure to pay property rents, frequent service glitches and the list of troubles has only got bigger for the social media platform in the last nine months. Its valuation has gone down to USD 20 billion in March 2023, way down from the USD 44 billion, which Elon Musk paid while buying the platform in October 2022.
Elon Musk also admitted the difficulties faced by him while running Twitter’s administrative affairs. To address this, American media executive Linda Yaccarino was brought in as the micro-blogging platform’s new CEO a month back.
While analysts thought that the move will bring some sort of administrative sanity to the micro-blogging platform, things have gone southwards since then.
Twitter has now limited how much content users can view on a daily basis. Also, the users are now required to log in to view the site. Also, the platform restricted unverified accounts to viewing 600 tweets a day. The cap was later upped to 1,000.
Elon Musk defended these changes as “temporary limits” meant to address “extreme levels of data scraping” and “system manipulation”, while stating that AI companies were taking “vast amounts of data” from Twitter, which forced the latter to perform the ‘costly operation’ of deploying more servers.
The Final Words
Changes are always good and welcome, when they are backed by informed decision-making and employed in a smooth manner. For Twitter, unfortunately, policy changes since October 2022 have brought only frustration for the users and the latter have been pushed to quit the platform.
Mark Zuckerberg has chosen the right moment to pounce upon his rival. Thread has been immensely popular on day one itself. Those, who got tired of Elon Musk’s erratic way of running Twitter’s affairs and were looking out for alternatives, are now bracing the app.
If the duel between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg gets compared with a cage fight, it’s right now standing at the 1-0 scoreline in the favour of the Meta boss. Will his Tesla counterpart, known for his online shenanigans, come up with a response? Let’s wait and watch.