Meta takes on Twitter with Threads app


Twitter and Threads logos displayed on a cell phone in San Anselmo, California, USA on July 5, 2023. PHOTO | AFP

Photo credit: AFP

Kenyans were among millions of consumers worldwide who opened accounts on a new social media app launched by Facebook parent Meta — Threads — that is taking on Twitter.

Billionaire owner Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday launched the social media application days after Twitter announced plans to cap daily views per user.

Threads’ launch is likely to raffle the growing popularity of Twitter among Kenya’s vast social media users, especially university and college graduates, the working class and government and corporate agencies.

Twitter, the second-most-popular social media app in Kenya after Facebook, last Saturday announced restrictions where most users are now limited to viewing a maximum of 600 tweets a day.

Threads is available in more than 100 countries including Kenya on the Apple and Google app stores.

“I think there should be a public conversations app with one billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully, we will,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote.

Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter on Saturday announced the decision to restrict daily viewership, triggering an online uproar as Mr Zuckerberg described Threads as a game-changer.

Mr Musk defended the decision as one meant to stem growing cases of data harvesting by companies building artificial intelligence models.

Twitter is arguably the go-to social media platform in Kenya as businesses tap into its popularity to tap new markets besides being a source of income for young people who are paid to advertise products.

Data from the global Web analytics service, StatCounter, shows that Twitter is tied with Facebook as the most popular social media app at 30 percent at the end of last month.

Threads can be accessed from Instagram accounts, the other social media platform owned by Mr Zuckerberg besides Facebook.

Users on Threads can unfollow, block, restrict or report others. Users can also filter out replies with certain words in them offering them similar options as Twitter.

Vicious battle

Threads mirrors Twitter but allows users to make longer posts with a maximum of 500 characters compared to 280 for Twitter.

Users who are verified on Instagram will automatically have their Threads accounts verified besides allowing them to carry their followers across the two apps.

Threads attracted more than 10 million sign-ups within seven hours after it went live, signalling a vicious battle ahead for Twitter which has an estimated 400 million users across the globe.

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