Threads: What You NEED To Know
By now you should have heard about Threads, which is the latest social media time suck to hit the streets. It’s taken the crown as the most downloaded app in 24 hours and it’s on course to hit 100 million users within two months.
Celebrities, big brands and influencers were all offered early access to the app, a smart move that has meant it’s built up a demand not seen since people were queueing up outside of Apple stores to get the first iPhone.
There’s a huge buzz around this shiny, new toy, despite it not being massively user friendly. The feed cannot be curated so the team here is seeing replies to things we could not care less about. There is no hashtag functionality. No trending feed. No direct message ability. No search function. No profile customisation and (no banner or background image) and no pinned posts.
Oddly though the image and video quality is better than Instagram which is a dedicated image and video platform. Weird.
Part of helping you to craft and share your story to donors, volunteers and supporters online, is warning you about the dangers that lurk around the corner once you step out of your front door and into someone else’s digital space.
Tik Tok and We Chat still hold the record for the most shocking levels of privacy intrusion once you click ‘agree’ on their terms and conditions, which is why CharityMarketing.co recommends that all of our clients, readers and stakeholders avoid these apps.
If you are going to use Threads though you need to be aware of the risks to your charity.
This is the fourth mega app owned by one company, essentially creating a monopoly on social media. Oh yeah, you can’t delete Threads without deleting your entire Instagram page. Neat huh?
Meta will access a worrying amount of data if you choose to use this application. Data that includes sexual orientation, biometric data, trade union membership, financial information, your browsing history, health and fitness, your phone contacts… any pinky promises you’ve broken and the colour of your wallpaper.
~The app does not ask for permission to use a user’s data and does not let users stop the app from tracking and profiling them.~
CharityMarketing.co recommends creating a separate Instagram account for Threads unless you have a significant following on Instagram. (You are allowed to access five accounts from your Instagram portal). This won’t impact your experience on the app and means you can safely delete your Threads account later without affecting your main Instagram account.
The downside is that you will have to manually follow your Instagram contacts rather than relying on automatic importing, and your Instagram followers may find it hard to follow your Threads account if they don’t see it pop up in their newly created Threads accounts.
~The app is not even available for download in E.U. countries until Meta makes significant changes to how it uses your personal data and brings the app inline with E.U. law.~
Meta is not a saviour for dissatisfied Twitter users, unless they choose to ignore these mammoth privacy red flags, and is just another avenue for Meta to exploit your data to the fullest degree possible.
Some users have warning labels on them when you attempt to follow them, and ask you “Are you sure you want to follow this person?” They might say something a little bit edgy that hurts your fee fees. The same warning that appears when users attempt to follow their Instagram profile.
Some people were having their comments censored, removed or deleted on day one, so be prepared for the usual levels of dystopian cringe on Threads.
The Story of Threads.
Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, started to develop Threads one month after Elon Musk led a consortium to buy Twitter. So right at the time that Musk fired 80% of the staff (Twitter still works, so what were these people all doing?!… “Overhead begs to walk on two legs.” – Felix Dennis) and he loosened up Twitter’s terms of service to allow more freedom of speech on the platform. Something users, lobbying groups, Apple, Google and the U.S. government all railed against, sure that the left wing echo chamber was going to turn into the Fourth Reich.
Zuckerberg told journalists ”There’s a celebratory feeling on Threads. This is all about fun.” All the press releases and all of the papers are parroting this notion that ‘this is just about fun… this is a fun and friendly and loving place, man’… So it’s like chilled out fun, bro… and it’s friendly!
~What you need to understand is that when they say friendly they don’t mean they are your friends. What they really mean is that the conversations are all going to be so watered down that it will be advertiser friendly.~
So look past the platitudes and you’ll find that even on day one, some people are not allowed a voice. There will be no vulgarity, no edgy memes, no jokes, no meaningful political debate, no political dissent, because this is a “friendly, happy and fun place.”
The Battle Ground.
Twitter ‘only’ has 330 million active monthly users. They have barely grown in the last 14 years. The explosive growth of Threads can be explained because the 2 billion active monthly users of Instagram can simply import their Instagram profile into Threads and instantly have an account.
In two months Threads is projected to be one third the size of Twitter, and they can afford to lose money to achieve this. They have income from Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and their other businesses. Twitter only has Twitter to make money from, and it is struggling to do that currently.
Twitter has been a large part of the social media landscape for a long time, and is currently worth an estimated $41billion. Meta on the other hand has a number of communication businesses under its umbrella and has a market capitalisation of $562bIllion!
Being nearly 14 times bigger means more revenue, more engineers, more users, more advertisers and the ability to take more risks. So it looks like Threads will hole Twitter below the waterline unless they start to create a better product to compete, and fast.
When Instagram developed Reels it didn’t kill off TikTok. When Instagram developed Stories, it didn’t kill off Snapchat. TikTok and Snapchat don’t have the same problems that Twitter has though. Refusing to be politically correct has created a barrier that the other companies don’t have.
~So Threads doesn’t have to kill Twitter, it can just wound it. If being a free speech platform scares off advertisers and results in less revenue, Twitter may end up reversing some of their policies and clamp down on free speech again.~
Once Threads hits 100 million active monthly users that will be a huge blow to the blue bird, and personally I don’t believe there are enough people that care about free speech absolutism that they would hang around on Twitter.
So, people have been very easily lured over to a tightly controlled, currently inferior platform. Another place that wants to censor the internet. They want to kill Twitter so that any news and opinion can be filtered through a multi billion dollar mega corporation that, as revealed by the Twitter Files released by Elon Musk, literally has White House staffers on speed dial.
So why would people choose a heavily censored version of the town square? Where people hold back on telling the truth in order to keep their accounts and no one disagrees with anyone else’s thoughts and opinion. Because it’s fun, man.
To Join Or Not To Join?
Whether you put your charity on Threads is ultimately up to you, I’m just here to give you the education required to make a fully informed choice. Personally the charity that I am a trustee of will be joining in a day or two. Last week I would have still had Twitter down as growing into a $500bn company in the next five years, as I was convinced they were going to transform into the Western version of WeChat. We Chat is the Chinese mega app that is their equivalent of Facebook, Instagram, pay your bills, book a dog groomer, order a taxi, pay your restaurant bill, video call the other side of the world… all in one.
Now though, three days after the release of Threads, I’m not so sure.