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What is Threads on Instagram? All about Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter alternative

Mark Zuckerberg’s Instagram unveiled its new text-based social media app “Threads” to widespread fanfare on Wednesday evening, escalating a high-stakes clash with billionaire rival Elon Musk and struggling Twitter.

More than 10 million users signed up for Threads within hours of its earlier-than-expected launch. The Twitter-like Threads represents the most significant direct competition to the Musk-owned platform, with some lauding Zuckerberg’s app as a potential “Twitter killer.”

“Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas,” Meta said in a blog post.

Zuckerberg posted his first tweet in more than a decade Wednesday that took a light-hearted dig at his potential cage match foe.

Threads’ early success appeared to irritate Musk, who tweeted a jab at Instagram alongside a bizarre defense of Twitter’s own user experience.

“It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in a false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram,” Musk said.

For now, the only way to delete your Threads account is to also delete your Instagram account.

Twitter has faced sharp criticism over Musk’s controversial management decisions, including limits on the number of tweets users could read per day. The company had been scrambling to reassure advertisers, who fled en masse due to Musk’s hands-off approach to content moderation.

Here’s everything to know about Meta-owned Threads.

What is Threads?

Threads is a text-based social media app that is closely tied to Meta’s popular photo-sharing platform Instagram. Last month, Meta chief product officer Chris Cox told employees at an all-hands meeting that Threads would operate as a “sanely run” alternative to Twitter.

Mark Zuckerberg
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is pictured.
Mark Zuckerberg/Instagram

How does Threads work?

Threads’ interface is very similar to Twitter. Posts can reach a limit of up to 500 characters and can include links, gifs, videos and photos. Uploaded videos can be up to five minutes long.

Users can follow other accounts, like, repost and send posts by direct message. They can also choose to “block” certain words from appearing in their feeds.

Threads users carry over their followers from Instagram.
Getty Images

When did Threads launch?

Threads went live for download on Wednesday afternoon. Meta had made the app available for pre-download earlier in the week. Before the public launch, some celebrities, including Shakira and Gordon Ramsey, had already posted on the app.

The launch came sooner than expected – Meta’s listing for Threads in Apple’s App Store had said the debut was “expected July 6.”

Can you delete a Threads account?

At present, the only way to delete a Threads account is to also delete the user’s linked Instagram account, according to the platform’s supplemental privacy policy. The policy has reportedly annoyed some users who have tweeted that they feel “trapped” by the inability to delete their Threads account.

The Post has reached out to Meta for comment on the policy.

Threads launched earlier than expected on Thursday.
Getty Images

How do you sign up for Threads?

Threads is available to download by phone in app stores. Users can also sign up through Instagram by searching “Threads.”

Does Threads use Instagram followers?

When a user signs up for Threads, their entire Instagram follower list will carry over to the new app. Users can also choose to follow (or unfollow) any account of their choosing on Threads, just as they can on Instagram.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion last year.

Does Threads work on desktop?

At present, the Threads app is only available for mobile download in Apple and Android app stores. However, Threads accounts, such as Zuckerberg’s, are accessible through desktop web browsers if a user knows the handle.

How do you follow accounts on Threads?

Threads is closely tied to Meta’s Instagram.
Getty Images

Users will start on Threads following the same accounts they do on Instagram – assuming those accounts have also signed up. They can also follow accounts just as they would on other apps by visiting their pages.

Do hashtags work on Threads?

While hashtags are a popular tool for following specific topics on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, they do not appear to function on Threads at the moment.

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