After two hours of hitting the play button on Wednesday on Threads, Instagram’s new real-time public conversations app, Mark Zuckerberg to publish That more than two million people have downloaded his latest creation.
This was just the beginning.
After another two hours, Five million people Download themes. By the time Mr. Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, went to bed on Wednesday night, the number of downloads had climbed to 10 million. When he woke up Thursday morning, he said, the app had been downloaded more than 30 million times.
In less than a day, Threads – which aims to be a competitor to Twitter – seems to have taken the crown as the fastest downloaded app of all time. It easily outperformed ChatGPT, the chatbot, which was downloaded 1 million times within the first five days, according to OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT. And the threads are pacing you past it 100 million users Within two months, a unique feat was achieved by ChatGPT, according to analytics firm Likeweb.
Some of Twitter’s most followed users — like Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Gates, Shakira, and Oprah Winfrey — immediately joined Thread and started posting. The atmosphere was festive, with users writing welcome messages and expressing their eagerness to read each other’s posts. At one point, the new app was so overwhelmed with users that it seemed unstable.
“This is as good a start as we had hoped!” Zuckerberg, whose company owns Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp, said in a post on the topics site Thursday. He later added, “It feels like the beginning of something special.”
The early momentum confirmed people’s desire for an alternative to Twitter, the 17-year-old digital town square that has long been the central place for public online conversation. Since Elon Musk bought Twitter last year, the billionaire has made changes that have angered longtime users of the social platform, especially those unimpressed by a hands-off approach to content moderation. Twitter also suffered more outages and errors.
Mr. Musk doesn’t take Mr. Zuckerberg’s actions lying down. In a letter dated Wednesday, Twitter’s lawyers threatened legal action against Meta, accusing it of using trade secrets from its former employees to build leads. Twitter also asked Meta to keep internal documents relevant to the dispute between the two companies. was the message I mentioned earlier by semaphore.
“Competition is good, cheating is not,” Mr. Musk said chirp Thursday.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, has also experimented with Mr. Zuckerberg’s new app. “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 7 copies on Twitter,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
In a post on Thread, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said there are no ex-Twitter engineers working on Threads. “This is nothing,” he wrote.
The leads came as a surprise to Meta, which was desperate for a win after it was scrutinized for spreading misinformation and other toxic content online. While Zuckerberg’s social network was celebrated in its early days, in recent years it has come under fire from regulators, activists and users discontented with how the company handles data and its products. The Meta has also faced questions about its transition into the immersive, still nascent digital world of the so-called metaverse.
But this week has been a reprieve – at least for a while – for Mr. Zuckerberg and his company. Inside the Meta on Wednesday night, employees cheered the leads, sharing inside jokes and memes with one another, according to photos from the conversations seen by The New York Times.
One employee noted that morale was rising internally after a year of layoffs and cost cutting at the company. Another person shared a meme of two characters from the 1999 movie “The Mummy,” telling each other that Twitter has been “replaced by Meta,” according to a screenshot.
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said Threads was a disruptive project that spun off Instagram seven months ago, after the company decided it wanted to “bet” on Twitter.
It’s a closely guarded secret, said two people familiar with the project, codenamed “Project 92.” The team was small, and other parts of the Meta didn’t have access to the initial versions of the app, they said.
Celebrities, brands and influencers have been given early access to the app over the past few days, a move by Meta to start a free-form culture of fun and discussion. Mr Mosseri said he wanted the threads to be a “friendly place” for public conversation.
“I can’t get enough of your strings,” said actress Jennifer Lopez in a post on the thread, adding a musical note emoji. In her first thread post, Ms. DeGeneres wrote, “Welcome to gay Twitter!”
However, this early momentum does not necessarily translate into long-term engagement and success. Twitter continues to lead, with more than 237 million daily users, according to the most recent public figures the company cited last year. Meta also continues to face questions about its data privacy policies.
Some Threads users have also been put off by an issue that may require them to delete their connected Instagram account if they wish to delete their Thread account. Instagram said it was looking into alternative ways Thread users could disable their accounts.
Mr Zuckerberg said Instagram appears to be taking a hands-on approach to what can and cannot be posted on Topics to create a “friendly” app for conversations.
Across the app, Topics has blocked some posts behind a warning box indicating that the content has been “reviewed by independent fact-checkers” and deemed misleading. Users can click a button in the warning box to reveal the content. An additional pop-up box included a brief explanation of why the content was hidden and a link to a post by the fact-checkers who delivered the ruling.
Threads also seem to hide some comments completely. Tomi Lahren, a right-wing influencer, asked in her first post on the app, “Would you be watching meta-conservative thought here, too?” – a strike against mainstream social networks that have moderated false and misleading content in the past. At the bottom of the comments section of her post, a label appeared that read: “Some responses unavailable.”
Another warning popped up when users tried to follow some influencers who had previously been reported by Meta for posting false or misleading content.
The warning asked “Are you sure you want to follow” the person. “This account has repeatedly posted false information that was reviewed by independent fact-checkers or otherwise went against our Community Guidelines.” The same warning popped up while trying to follow these users’ Instagram profiles.
For new theme users like Kate Stone, a 63-year-old attorney in North Carolina, proper content moderation is important. She had a dormant Twitter account and once dreamed of owning a Tesla, the electric car made by Mr. Musk, but gave up on both when the tech billionaire began tweeting more politically conservative messages. But she wanted to be part of the general conversation online, and thought threads might be a way to do that.
“I read about topics, and I don’t like Zuckerberg very much, but I’ve seen it’s easy to do if you have an Instagram account,” Ms. Stone said in an interview. “So I thought I’d give it a try.”
Stuart A Thompson And Kid Metz Contribute to the preparation of reports.