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Meta’s Threads – The New Kid on the Block Overcoming Social Start-up Challenges

Embarking on a social media start-up venture is no easy task. Building an audience, scaling, and luring loyal users from established platforms can seem like a monumental feat. But Meta’s Threads has found a way to evade this dilemma.

Threads, a microblogging platform from Meta that debuted on July 5, presents itself as an appealing alternative to Twitter. Threads is capitalizing on Meta’s far-reaching network to reel in users from its other owned platforms.

One of Threads’ main attractions is the simplicity of creating new accounts. Users can effortlessly migrate their information from Instagram, fostering a shared identity across both platforms. This convenience led to a staggering 10 million sign-ups within the first hours of Threads’ launch, as announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

So, what’s the magic behind Threads’ success? Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, puts it in terms of overcoming the ‘cold start’ problem faced by start-ups like BlueSky and Mastodon. The question always is, why would a creator, who has already spent significant time building a following on one platform, migrate to another? The answer lies in Meta’s massive audience.

In a classic ‘chicken and egg’ scenario, Threads has managed to break the cycle. With Instagram’s substantial audience and creator base, Threads has been able to onboard numerous creators who now have the incentive to create content for the new platform, effectively luring in their followers. In fact, Threads garnered over 70 million users within two days of its launch.

This rapid adoption is attributed to Meta’s strategic move of connecting Instagram’s colossal user base to Threads and capitalizing on the existing dissatisfaction with Twitter. However, it remains uncertain whether Threads can maintain its momentum.

What makes Threads unique from Instagram, apart from being another platform for following already-followed accounts? With concerns over the algorithm promoting posts from larger accounts over friends, Threads has been referred to as ‘the echo chamber for the ultra-followed.’

As per Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, Threads aims to create a safe space for users seeking a more serene place for conversations. It doesn’t intend to replace Twitter; instead, it aspires to provide a different user experience.

While the Threads’ success story might seem like an inspiring fairy tale, it has sparked concerns over data collection and monopolization. There’s been criticism about the inability of users to delete their Threads accounts without entirely eliminating their Instagram accounts, and the vast data that Threads gathers. However, this hasn’t dampened its meteoric rise.

Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic clinical instructor Alejandra Caraballo pinpoints Threads’ success to Meta’s polished strategy of replicating popular social media trends under its brand. This strategy, though successful, has caused concerns about a monopoly in the social media landscape.

Threads’ similarity to Twitter has even provoked legal threats from Elon Musk, who claims that Meta hired ex-Twitter staff for creating this ‘copycat’ app, which Meta denies.

Given the failure of alternative social media sites and the struggle of new sites to gain widespread popularity, it’s speculated that the Federal Trade Commission might have to intervene, possibly forcing Meta to divest or sell off WhatsApp or Threads due to its dominance over American social networks. After all, a singular entity overseeing the majority of social media platforms doesn’t bode well for a diverse digital society.

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