Meta’s new social media platform Threads became the fastest-growing app ever in its first week on the App Store, capitalizing on Twitter’s decaying popularity.
The app grew to more than 100 million users, buoyed in part by features which allowed existing Instagram and Facebook users to claim their handle and begin posting.
However, despite a clear appetite for a Twitter killer, Threads churned a significant portion of its bright-eyed new public. Research from ARK Invest suggests that Threads was on its way to stabilize at about 30 million daily active users, or about 7% of the Twitter user base.
One big theory for why? Threads feels like Instagram, and Instagram is observably *not* Twitter. In fact, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes it never will be. In the opening hours of the app’s launch, he shared his desire that Threads become a kinder space than its direct competitor in a series of posts.
Equity Animal CEO Mark Moran stressed that Threads felt “too nice,” in a recent episode of This Week in Money. “It’s basically just Instagram on Twitter; the same content regurgitated from the same people.”
That kindness might make Threads a welcome addition to Meta’s powerful advertising offering—which made it the lion’s share of its $28 billion in revenue last quarter.
By contrast, Twitter, which has seen its traffic fall more than 11% year-over-year and has turned advertisers away under its new leadership—but the ferality of its user base might be a leading reason why users haven’t fled in even larger droves.
On Twitter, you can find shitposters, anons, and egirls and twinks hocking OnlyFans subscriptions. There is a level of divisiveness, controversy, horniness, and ugliness that Twitter seems unlikely to cede to any competitor (of course, unless they hand it to the enemy through their own stupidity.)
By contrast, none of those things have found a home on Threads—which is intentionally restrictive. Instead, it was brands and prospective advertisers who capitalized, poking fun at the launch while the new user base tuned out. Threads could rediscover its fire, but it’ll need something to fan the flame.