Threads Is A Total Rip-Off Of Twitter, But Here’s Why It’s A Step In The Right Direction

Originally when I heard the goss about Meta’s new app Threads I was only interested in one thing: the potential cage fight between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. But, in an effort to stay young, hip and ultimately on top of what is going on, I decided to join the new app. And while I think it’s just another new shiny thing that the internet will eventually lose interest in, there is one aspect that I think is actually positive: The lack of anonymity.

But first, let’s unpack what Threads actually is and why there’s beef between the lizard kings of the digital world.

According to Meta, Threads is a “new app, built by the Instagram team, for sharing text updates and joining public conversations.” It believes that it offers a “new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations.”

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s pretty much the same description as Twitter.

The only difference – aside from the platforms being owned by Daddy Zuck and Daddy Musk – hasn’t been put into effect just yet. Meta says that it has plans to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub, an open social networking protocol that allows you to be able to post and read content across multiple platforms.

Currently, Twitter runs on a private platform. So basically, once this feature is put in place, you could post one thing on Instagram and have it be seen, shared, and read across any ActivityPub platform. Nice, cool, okay.

So when Mark Zuckenberg announced Threads, Elon Musk was piiiisssssssedd. Thankfully, he took it like an adult.

Annnnd now it’s looking like a cage fight will probably happen between them – and I can’t bloody wait.

But Threads and Twitter daddy beef aside, the app has been making some serious waves. In the first few hours, it had more than 30 million downloads. And, thanks to the super easy sign-up process, it managed to hit over 100 million users in only five days.

In an effort to cling on to my ever-diminishing youth, I signed up to the trendy new app and I really have been putting my whole pussy into attempting to be funny online. Turns out it’s really hard.

I feel like how our foremothers and fathers probably felt when they made the daring switch from MySpace to Facebook and started posting statuses like “Laura is feeling SASSY xD.”

You know, that kind of thing. And while everyone is saying that you’re either a dumb hot girl on IG or a smart hot girl on Threads, I’ve discovered I’m just a girl, you know?

Anyway, considering that Twitter usage is reportedly in decline, despite Musk’s assertions that the platform is seeing record user engagement, Threads’ immediate success is a pretty rough blow.

As I realised when I signed up, a huge part of the reason there are so many sign-ups is due to how bloody easy it is to get an account.

All it takes is one click from your IG, and you can keep your username, bio, and follow the same people. Put simply, to have a Threads account, you have to have an IG. And once you’re locked into Threads, you’re locked into both the intertwined platforms. That means that if you want to delete your Threads account, you’ve gotta say cya to IG too.

That’s a pretty effective approach to keep long-term users if you ask me.

While that feels like a strange and kind of shitty thing to do, there is one positive in having IG linked with Threads – inbuilt accountability. Because having the personal and professional accounts of users inextricably linked to a Threads account means that people are less likely to engage in hate speech and bullying behaviours. Although there are probably ways around it like creating burner accounts, the Threads-IG setup makes it a lot harder to spread hate than it is on Twitter.

And its timing couldn’t be more perfect.

In June, Twitter came under fire from Australia’s internet safety watchdog for the “toxicity and hate” on its platform. The company was given 28 days to clean up their act and if they fail, it could be facing hefty fines. And, since Musk took over the platform in October 2022, there has been an influx of hate speech due to banned accounts being allowed back to the app.

Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s e-Safety Commissioner and former employee of Twitter, told Al Jazeera that the platform has “dropped the ball on tackling hate.”

“We need accountability from these platforms and action to protect their users, and you cannot have accountability without transparency,” she told the publication.

From an outsider, a non-tech girlie even, it seems like Threads has done just that.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should get rid of online anonymity. Especially when anonymous formats can protect minorities and give people the opportunity to speak freely. But I do think there’s power in holding people accountable for damaging hate speech.

The thing is, Threads could have the same impact as BeReal. An app that started super strong, and now, is only used by like three friends in your friend group. The difference here is that once you have a Threads account, there’s no way to disable it without ditching your IG.

So, while I’m a fan of the accountability that Threads has weaved within the very fibre of its being, realistically I think the app is eventually going to become a ghost town that gives us war flashbacks from Facebook statuses in 2013.

(Image Source: Getty, Twitter / Gabby Jones, Elon Musk)

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