Meta’s new app Threads, the social media giant’s alternative to Twitter, has attracted about 70 million users since its debut Wednesday evening, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Friday.
Part of the draw may be that users can easily sign up through their Instagram account – and log in – with a single button, making the new text-based conversation platform an extension of the more established platform that mainly features photos and videos .
But the tight integration between the Meta apps may also remind users that they could be giving away the same personal data collected from many of Instagram’s 2.3 billion monthly active users as well as those on other Meta platforms, such as Facebook. .
In addition, the Threads and Instagram apps, according to Apple App Store“may include handling” of “sensitive information” including race, sexual orientation and religion.
Meta hopes to lure people away from Twitter, with owner Elon Musk recently announcing restrictions, including limits on the number of tweets users can view per day.
“As Twitter faces turbulence from controversial policy changes, Threads seems to have sprung up at just the right time. However, if people are looking for an alternative to Twitter that respects their data privacy and right to civil discourse, they will have to keep looking,” social media and online privacy expert Mark Weinstein told CBC News.
“As with Meta’s other products such as Facebook and Instagram, it appears Threads will generate revenue through data collection and surveillance capitalism,” he said.
He said several Twitter “clones” have emerged over the years, but none have broken his stronghold. That’s because of what’s known as the network effect, meaning that a social media platform is seen as having more value the more people join.
By integrating two platforms, Threads has a real chance of surpassing Twitter in popularity, he said, “albeit as it accumulates massive databases of its users.”
A user can manage some of the settings on Threads by tapping “profile” in the bottom right, then “settings” in the top right, Instagram says on its help center web page.
For now, only Instagram users can create a Threads account.
Another wrinkle is that you cannot delete a Threads account without also deleting your Instagram.
If users object to the two-for-one dynamic, some technology company websites recommend creating a separate Instagram account for Threads that can be easily abandoned.
That may not be a priority for people who count on a high number of users. The new mobile-only app allows users to request a list of Instagram accounts they follow and then instruct Threads to follow them, or request that for private accounts, once they join the new app.