What Is Threads? Everything You Need To Know About Meta’s New Twitter Alternative

What Is Threads? Everything You Need To Know About Meta’s New Twitter Alternative

meta logo with people on devices


There’s a good chance by now you’ve heard a lot about Meta’s new social media app, Threads. But you might not be 100% sure what it exactly is, or how it works. If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Here’s everything you need to know about Threads, including how to sign up and what you can expect from this alternative to Twitter.

A new text-based social media network, similar to Twitter, was officially confirmed by Meta in March. It launched on the evening of July 5, a bit earlier than expected, but by no means a surprise — Meta had a countdown clock and was sneaking easter eggs into Instagram prior to the launch. Since then, tens of millions of accounts have signed up for the service, with 30 million registering before Threads was even 24 hours old. Part of that high number is due to how easy it is to create an account by linking your Instagram, carrying over your username, password, contacts, and even verified blue badges for those who have one. Meta, which is run by founder Mark Zuckerberg, is the parent company of both Instagram and Threads, as well as Facebook, WhatsApp, and VR platform Quest.

“The vision for Threads is to create an option and friendly public space for conversation,” Zuckerberg posted on his Threads account. “We hope to take what Instagram does best and create a new experience around text, ideas, and discussing what’s on your mind.” As the large number of early signups show, if even a fraction of Instagram’s two billion active users join, the new town square will have plenty of voices sharing their posts.

How do you create a Threads account?

threads on app store

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If you have an Instagram account, joining Threads is very easy. Keep in mind that, at launch, once you create a Threads account, you cannot delete it (but there is a workaround). The only way to do so would be to also delete your Instagram account. Alos, like other Meta apps, Threads will collect a lot of your data, including search history, location, contact info, and more. If you’re uncomfortable with that, you may want to hold off on signing up for Threads until the ability to delete an individual account is made available.

The service runs on a separate app, available for both Android and iOS. At launch, users could read posts on the web and copy links to share specific posts, but could not sign into or engage with Threads using a browser. After downloading the free app, if you’re logged onto Instagram on the same device, you can link your accounts and create a Threads account without even having to type in a new password. Your username and account name for both will be the same, though you can create a new bio and profile photo. Unlike Twitter and Bluesky, there is currently no cover photo option.

Following accounts you already follow on Instagram (and vice versa) is incredibly simple. If you click the “Following” tab from your profile, you’ll have the option to see Instagram friends you’ve yet to follow on Threads and add them with one tap. You can also remove accounts you don’t want following you from the “Followers” tab, and set your profile to private.

What can you expect to see on Threads?

threads design on phone

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Once you’re set up, you will notice both your profile page and timeline look very similar to Twitter, and that’s intentional. Posts have a 500-character limit, and are text-based, though you can also attach photos and videos, including a carousel of up to 10 in a single post, just like with Instagram. 

You can interact with public posts by liking and commenting on them, as well as reposting and quoting them in a new post. Comments can include photos and videos from your camera roll, including gifs you may have saved. You can also share posts by clicking Instagram’s trademark paper plane icon. In addition to giving you a link to share, or the ability to share it directly through apps like iMessage or AirDrop, you can also upload a Threads post directly to your Instagram feed or stories. Even if you don’t have Threads, the ease of cross-posting from one Meta app to another makes the two social networks feel part of a larger whole in a way Twitter doesn’t. However, there is also an option to share a Threads post directly to Twitter.

Will Threads replace Twitter?

musk silhouette with twitter logo


Twitter has been a prominent text-based social network for over a decade but has been plagued with multiple problems for some time now. After Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform late last year, more issues have arisen, with many long-time users voicing their dissatisfaction, if not leaving Twitter altogether. It’s no wonder Meta is making a push to take Twitter’s place in the social network ecosystem, but it will face many of the same difficulties Twitter has had, including managing harassment, misinformation, disinformation, and spam. It could also have trouble earning ad revenue on Threads, just as Twitter has, a problem that seemingly arises both from the nature of the platform and the aforementioned issues scaring away advertisers.

Meta will also need to deal with increasing government regulation for internet and tech companies. Currently, Threads is not even available in most of the European Union, which recently passed the Digital Markets Act to prevent tech companies from using their size and power to “gatekeep” the internet. Twitter is still available to these European users and has long-time users from around the globe, so it isn’t likely to fold immediately just because Meta has stepped into the ring.

But Meta’s gigantic user base definitely gives Threads a running head start. The company also has the resources to sustain the app as it grows and evolves. While it may not bring in as much ad revenue, the company can only benefit by keeping users within the overall Meta ecosystem, whether it’s browsing photos on Instagram, checking in on relatives through Facebook, or engaging in public discourse on Threads. And if a Threads post leads a user to an Instagram ad, Zuckerberg’s gambit may literally pay off.

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