Tuesday, 18 July 2023 04:00

Interest in Threads, Twitter rival collapses

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Threads reached 100 million sign-ups within just five days of launch, with Mark Zuckerberg celebrating every step of the way, but the actual usage of Meta’s Twitter clone appears to have fallen off the proverbial cliff, data analysis has shown. 

Zuckerberg chose to launch Threads as an Instagram spinoff, prompting the photo platform’s user base to register for the text app when it launched on July 6. The cross-promotion helped the new platform reach ten million users in just seven hours, with Zuckerberg excitedly live-posting the growth. 

Within a week, Threads made it to 150 million downloads globally, with India accounting for 33% of the new users and Brazil another 22%, according to Data.ai. Americans made up just 16% of downloads, with Mexico (8%) and Japan (5%) following suit.

In the same time frame, however, Threads saw its daily active users (DAU) collapse by 40% and the average daily time per user dropping fourfold, according to data from SensorTower. Only 16% of users came back on the seventh day after downloading, and time spent on Threads over the weekend was down 60% from its July 6 launch high.

Despite Threads strong sign-ups/DAUs, ST data shows engagement remains low. Weekend time spent declined 60% from Jul 6 highs; this was 60% & 85% lower than avg time spent on Twitter & Insta, resp.

Even at its peak, on July 6, Threads had 85% lower user engagement than Instagram, and underperformed Twitter by 60% in the same metric, SensorTower analysts Abraham Yousef and Seema Shah told The Atlantic last week.

Additional data showed Threads usage collapsing from neatly 20 minutes a day on launch to just five after a week. Meanwhile, Twitter and Instagram both held steady at 30 and 60 minutes, respectively.

“I think there should be a public conversation app with 1 billion+ people on it,” Zuckerberg boasted after the launch of Threads. He also said Meta would be “focusing on kindness and making this a friendly place.”

In practice, this has translated into the kind of censorship already practiced on Facebook and Instagram, with the added prospect of people losing their Instagram accounts if they get banned for Threads posts.

Online data analysts have speculated that an audience interested in photos may not cross over well to text posts, while the Instagram integration has discouraged the anonymous meme accounts that have traditionally been the lifeblood of Twitter.

Fleeting user interest is not the only teething problem affecting Threads. Zuckerberg has already received a cease-and-desist letter from Twitter accusing him of plagiarizing their platform. On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee notified Zuckerberg that all of its subpoenas pertaining to Meta colluding with the government to censor people should be considered applicable to Threads as well.

The Atlantic also poured cold water on Threads’ 100-million milestone, noting that the first social network to reach it was Google+, which launched in 2011 but was shuttered in 2019 due to lack of interest.


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