In the past few weeks, Twitter has gone from bad to worse.
Last weekend, users were hit with “rate limit exceeded” messages after Musk decided to throttle the number of Tweets a user can see because he wants to prevent scraping, or something.
Was that true? Who knows. It was certainly annoying. Some users were able to wait a while and refresh their timelines, while others could not view more Tweets for the rest of the day.
The limits currently stand at 10,000 posts a day for a Twitter Blue subscriber, 1,000 a day for a free account, and 500 for a newly created free account. With these limits in place, I’m assuming that ads placed in feed and within threads will also not be shown once the cap is reached.
In addition, the ‘For You’ feed is an absolute hell hole.
Musk wanted to make the platform into a place for ‘free speech’ and well, I guess if that means spreading false information and hate, he’s nailed it.
I manage Twitter for one of my clients. Because they don’t interact in a way that indicates alignment politically or socially, I’ve seen some genuinely horrifying stuff appear from Blue Tick accounts at the top of their ‘For You’ feed, including:
- Elon Musk’s own Tweets, multiple times
- A Tweet from ‘Qmum’ which states ‘Do you believe this p**o Biden is dead.’
- Lots of racist Tweets, especially relating to migrants
- A lot of transphobic Tweets
- ‘Alpha’ male Tweets, including one that has a photo of a young white woman, with the caption ‘White… there is no upgrade!’
- Alt-right/conspiracy theory Tweets, including a LOT from an account called ‘illuminatibot’ which posted an article stating that Hollywood elites killed his unborn child amongst other ridiculous claims
- And some other really, really extreme stuff, which I can’t even mention in this blog post
All of this was within about 5 minutes of scrolling.
Not only that, when clicking on trending hashtags, the top results are frequently dominated by bot accounts. It took A LOT of scrolling today when I clicked on #Threads to find an article from a reputable source amongst all the garbage.
With trust and content quality at an all-time low, it’s no wonder Twitter is losing so much in ad revenue.
So, will Meta’s Threads be any better?
What is Meta Threads?
Launched in July 2023, Threads is a new Twitter-style app built by Meta’s Instagram team.
You can login with an existing Instagram account, and sync it with accounts you already follow. Posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length.
I found the sign up process very fast and easy to complete, and was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with content (mostly) from people that I actually follow when opening the app.
So far, so good. There’s not really too much else to say about the feed, aesthetically, it looks very much like Twitter.
At the moment, there are no hashtags and the search functionality is limited to searching for accounts only. The rest of the accounts I follow that do not have a Threads account yet appear in my ‘Pending’ followers list.
You also have all the usual account settings – making your profile private, muted accounts, and hidden words to prevent being harassed or accounts and topics you don’t want to see in your feed.
All in all, it took me a few minutes to work out how to use the Threads app.
What do marketers need to know about Threads?
While Twitter has an estimated 450 million active monthly users, Instagram has 1.35 billion. The potential for Threads to overtake Twitter quickly is looking likely, especially with 10 million users signing up in the first 24 hours alone. For now at least, the app is no frills, and unlike Twitter, it actually works. That’s going to appeal to a lot of users.
Unlike Twitter, there are no direct messages, trending stories, or hashtags, so it’s not possible to use the platform to identify trends or reach out to influencers. Another issue is that accounts that you follow, and those you don’t, are all mixed up in a single feed. Though to be fair, since I signed up I’ve only muted Chris Moyles and a few footie accounts I don’t give a toss about.
If your brand is hoping to advertise on the platform, despite it being owned by Meta and integrated to some extent with Instagram already, an ads solution isn’t expected to be launched for another year, according to reports.
Also, Meta has stated it plans to make the Threads app compatible with ActivityPub; an open social networking protocol. This would make Threads interoperable with other apps that also support it which could lead to a more open internet, where users can interact with their communities across platforms with far less friction.
However, one very big issue with Threads is that it’s probably not going to see the light of day in the EU anytime soon due to Meta’s data privacy concerns being a GDPR nightmare. If your business has a large market in Europe, there’s probably not much point in pouring time and energy into the platform, at least for now.
Have you tried Threads yet? Do you think it could put the final nail in the coffin of Twitter? Get in touch with me on Threads here.