Threads, the text app launched by Meta as an Instagram spinoff, initially gained massive traction, boasting 100 million sign-ups within five days of its release. Mark Zuckerberg celebrated the milestone, but recent data analysis has revealed a sharp decline in actual usage of the platform.
Zuckerberg’s cross-promotion strategy enticed Instagram users to register for Threads upon its July 6 launch, propelling the new platform to ten million users within just seven hours. The excitement of growth prompted Zuckerberg to share real-time updates on the app’s progress.
Within a week, Threads garnered 150 million global downloads, with India accounting for 33% of new users and Brazil representing another 22%, as reported by Data.ai. Downloads in the United States constituted a mere 16%, followed by Mexico (8%) and Japan (5%).
However, during the same period, Threads experienced a significant collapse in daily active users (DAU), plummeting by 40%. The average daily time per user also dropped fourfold, according to SensorTower data. A mere 16% of users returned to the app on the seventh day after downloading, and the time spent on Threads over the weekend saw a 60% decline from its peak on July 6.
SensorTower analysts Abraham Yousef and Seema Shah revealed that even at its peak, Threads had 85% lower user engagement than Instagram, and it underperformed Twitter by 60% in the same metric, as reported by The Atlantic.
Further analysis indicated a rapid decline in Threads usage, with daily time spent decreasing from nearly 20 minutes at launch to just five minutes after a week. In contrast, Twitter and Instagram maintained steady usage at 30 and 60 minutes, respectively.
Zuckerberg’s vision of creating a “public conversation app with 1 billion+ people on it” has not materialized as expected. In practice, Meta’s focus on “kindness” has resulted in familiar censorship practices already seen on Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, the integration with Instagram has discouraged the anonymous meme accounts that have traditionally thrived on Twitter.
The fleeting user interest in Threads is not the only challenge the platform faces. Zuckerberg has already received a cease-and-desist letter from Twitter, accusing him of plagiarizing their platform. Furthermore, the House Judiciary Committee has notified Zuckerberg that their subpoenas pertaining to Meta’s alleged collusion with the government for censorship should also apply to Threads.
The Atlantic has cast doubt on Threads’ touted 100-million milestone, citing Google+ as a cautionary tale. Google+ reached a similar milestone in 2011 but ultimately shut down in 2019 due to lack of interest.
As Threads grapples with declining usage, accusations of plagiarism, and concerns over censorship, the future of Meta’s Twitter clone hangs in the balance.
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