Zuckerberg Aims to Make Threads a 1-Billion Member App

Meta’s Twitter rival Threads debuted Thursday (July 6) with 10 million sign-ups in seven hours.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he’s envisioning a much higher number, surpassing Twitter’s 300 million-plus users.

“There should be a public conversations app with 1 billion-plus people on it,” he wrote on the new social media platform. “Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”

As PYMNTS reported Wednesday (July 5), Threads was made by Meta’s Instagram team and lets users share posts that are up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos of up to five minutes.

“Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas,” Meta said in a news release. “Just like on Instagram, with Threads you can follow and connect with friends and creators who share your interests — including the people you follow on Instagram and beyond.”

Colton Hayes, Meta’s vice president of product, expanded on the company’s vision in a Bloomberg News interview Thursday, saying many influential Instagrammers had been asking for a text-based app.

“Creators were telling us, ‘We want an alternative to what’s out there, and we don’t want to start over and have to build out a following from zero,’” Hayes said, though he did not refer to Twitter by name, Bloomberg noted.

The launch comes as Twitter continues to weather a long string of difficulties, including a massive drop in ad revenue. Last month saw reports that the company’s advertising revenue for the five weeks between April 1 and the first week of May was $88 million, a 59% decrease from the same period a year earlier.

A New York Times report cited interviews with company employees who said the ad sales staff is concerned advertisers may be scared off by an increase in hate speech and pornography on Twitter, as well as an increase in ads for online gambling and marijuana companies.

Threads is available from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store and has been launched in 100 countries.

Not included in the launch, however, are the European Union nations, where the roll-out has reportedly been postponed over uncertainty surrounding the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Graham Doyle, deputy commissioner of Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), told Bloomberg News that the company “informed us that they have no plans” to introduce the app in the EU “at present.”

Meta is among a group of tech giants dubbed “gatekeepers” under the DMA, as it meets certain requirements in terms of income and market valuation, as well as user numbers.