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It Looks Like Mark Zuckerberg Is About to Launch a Twitter Rival

It Looks Like Mark Zuckerberg Is About to Launch a Twitter Rival

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is developing a new app, codenamed “Project 92” or “Threads,” which looks remarkably similar to Twitter, featuring a continuous scroll of text and buttons akin to Twitter’s Like and Retweet functions. At a gathering of Meta staff last week, senior executive Chris Cox called it “our response to Twitter.”

Meta is reportedly currently reaching out to celebrities and influencers to test the app and attract early users. With a launch expected in the coming months, Threads will offer a 500-character limit on posts, in contrast to Twitter’s shift toward longer-form content.

Users are likely to be able to transfer over account information from Instagram, including the ability to keep their handle and notify followers to join them.

This move comes as Twitter faces challenges since Elon Musk’s acquisition last year, with the platform experiencing a decline in advertising revenue and losing users due to controversial decisions, such as reversing bans on accounts involved in hate speech. Advertisers are concerned about their ads appearing alongside misinformation or hate speech, leading to a significant drop in advertising spending on Twitter. Musk’s attempt to convert Twitter users into paying subscribers through the Twitter Blue subscription offering has also struggled.

Meta’s new app presents a credible threat to Twitter, as advertisers are more likely to trust their ad dollars with Zuckerberg’s company than smaller rivals. Despite safety concerns on Facebook, advertisers are still open to new offerings from Meta.

Although Twitter remains popular among politicians, journalists, celebrities, and pundits, Meta’s vast user base through Facebook and Instagram could pose a challenge. Convincing even a fraction of these users to create accounts on Threads could tip the scales in favor of Meta. Additionally, Meta’s brand, bolstered by Instagram’s positive reputation, may attract celebrities and brands disenchanted with Musk’s behavior.

However, Meta’s track record in launching new apps is not particularly strong, with several unsuccessful attempts in recent years. Their strength lies in acquiring successful platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp. Zuckerberg is known for adapting features from rival platforms, such as Instagram Stories, which was “inspired” by Snapchat. If Threads falls short, Meta is exploring features to attract Twitter users to WhatsApp.

Ultimately, whether Meta can unseat Twitter as the world’s town square remains to be seen. But we can all probably agree that Twitter has been a mess and another option would be welcome by many.

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