Meta’s new Twitter competitor Threads launched yesterday, and got 30 million users overnight. That’s pretty impressive. Instagram has 2 billion monthly active users, so getting .015% of your users to start on a new app doesn’t sound impressive, but it’s a lot of people in ONE DAY. Remember, we’re talking 2Bil monthly users. Lots of people don’t use Instagram every day - they’ll eventually see the ad for Threads and get on board.
I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing. I am not a Meta fan. I thought Facebook was getting pretty toxic and pulled the plug shortly after the 2016 Presidential election. I use Instagram, mostly to view and not post. I use WhatsApp for exactly one conversation with some old co-workers.
Lots of people on Mastodon (my current social network of choice) have posted a screenshot of the Privacy Label for Threads, and it’s not great:
Thread’s App Store Privacy Label, collecting all the things
Threads wants access to your health, financial, contacts, browsing history, usage data, purchases, location, and more. It’s basically every data category Apple considers “private”. There’s really no reason to give a company all this data, and you don’t have to (at least on iOS…). You can always deny access to this stuff when the app asks, or go into Settings later and turn a lot of this stuff off. In fact, it’s so egregious that the EU will not even allow the app in the region at this point.
My issue with Threads, from a user standpoint (leaving privacy issues aside because that’s what most users do…) is the “Get my Follows from Instagram” button. Sure, it’s easy to build a timeline quickly by logging in with your Instagram ID and hitting the button. But I use Instagram and text-based social media in vastly different ways.
My Instagram is pretty quiet, occasionally posting a pic of a dog or a mountain or something. I try not to post too many personal photos anymore (I used to, then I started thinking about future consent, so I’m a lot more judicious.) My Mastodon feed is noisier, with lots of posts about tech, politics, pop culture, music, etc.
I’m seeing lots of friends who follow me on Instagram starting to follow me on Threads, and I know it’s because of that silly “Get my Followers from Instagram” button. I don’t mind that my photo-sharing friends see what I type into the internet machine, but let’s be honest - they don’t care. They followed me to see pics of my dog, not to hear my thoughts on Shortcuts or Apple’s latest beta of watchOS.
Different platforms have different audiences, and that is one thing Meta has never understood. I am reluctantly setting up a Threads account follow me here to see how things go.
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