Facebook owner Meta’s latest social media app Threads is the “first credible threat” to Twitter, according to a leading tech expert.
Matt Navarra, a social media consultant and industry analyst, said Twitter users were crying out for a more satisfying platform after being left unhappy with changes following Elon Musk’s takeover.
Threads, described as a “text-based conversation app”, will be linked to fellow Meta social media site Instagram and is due to go live on Thursday.
Tesla and SpaceX founder Mr Musk, who bought Twitter in October, has overseen several major alterations to the user experience, most notably the monetisation of being “verified”.
A temporary limit on the number of posts allowed to be read – originally set at 600 for non-verified users – was also introduced on Saturday.
Mr Navarra told the PA news agency: “I think that Threads is the first real, credible threat to Elon Musk’s Twitter.
“Users of Twitter are desperately looking for an exit from the platform to escape, and the existing options of rivals are fairly limited.
“They all have the same big problem, which is you have to start from zero – it’s a network that is completely new. One of the biggest benefits for Meta is that it’s building off the back of Instagram, where people are familiar and can also kickstart their following because it ties into the same social graph.”
Mr Navarra said the similar style of interface set to be used by Threads, shared in the announcement via screenshots, was a “strategic and intentional decision” by Meta, as it aimed to create a platform with “as little friction as possible”.
The new app is the latest chapter in the rivalry between Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg and Mr Musk.
Last month the pair – two of the world’s most high-profile billionaires – agreed to take each other on in a cage fight in an exchange that went viral on social media.
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— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) July 4, 2023
The announcement of the new app comes after Twitter said TweetDeck, which allows users to manage multiple feeds and searches, will in 30 days only be accessible to verified users.
Mr Navarra said that while the appetite for change exists among users, he warned it would be weighed up against mixed public opinions on Meta.
The company was fined 1.2 billion euros (£1 billion) in May over the transfer of data from European users to US servers.
“Meta and Instagram comes with baggage, a bad name and bad press. People are very wary and sceptical of anything [Meta owner] Mark Zuckerberg does,” Mr Navarra said.
He added that a retaliation from Musk to the Threads launch was very possible given his “tendency to be quite petulant and petty”.