Meta takes on Twitter with Threads, an app for sharing using text

Meta has announced the initial version of Threads, an app built by the Instagram team for sharing with text. Whether one is a creator or a casual poster, Threads offers a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations. The team behind the app is working toward making Threads compatible with the open, interoperable social networks that we believe can shape the future of the internet.

“Instagram is where billions of people around the world connect over photos and videos. Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas. Just like on Instagram, with Threads you can follow and connect with friends and creators who share your interests – including the people you follow on Instagram and beyond. And you can use our existing suite of safety and user controls,” noted Instagram.

Using Threads from Instagram

  • Simply use your Instagram account to log in. Your Instagram username and verification will carry over, with the option to customize your profile specifically for Threads.
  • Everyone who is under 16 (or under 18 in certain countries) will be defaulted into a private profile when they join Threads. One can choose to follow the same accounts they do on Instagram, and find more people who care about the same things as them. The core accessibility features currently available on Instagram , such as screen reader support and AI-generated image descriptions, are also enabled on Threads.
  • A user’s feed on Threads includes threads posted by people they follow, and recommended content from new creators they haven’t discovered yet. Posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length. One can easily share a Threads post to their Instagram story, or share the post as a link on any other platform they prefer.
Tune Out the Noise

According to Instagram, the team built Threads with tools to enable positive, productive conversations. A user can control who can mention them or reply to them within Threads. Just like on Instagram, one can add hidden words to filter out replies to their threads that contain specific words. They can unfollow, block, restrict or report a profile on Threads by tapping the three-dot menu. Any accounts they’ve blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on Threads.

“As with all our products, we’re taking safety seriously, and we’ll enforce Instagram’s Community Guidelines on content and interactions in the app. Since 2016 we’ve invested more than $16 billion in building up the teams and technologies needed to protect our users, and we remain focused on advancing our industry-leading integrity efforts and investments to protect our community,” stated Instagram.

Plans are also underway to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub, the open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body responsible for the open standards that power the modern web. The move aims to make Threads interoperable with other apps that also support the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress – allowing new types of connections that are currently not possible on most social apps. Other platforms, including Tumblr, have shared plans to support the ActivityPub protocol in the future.

“We’re committed to giving you more control over your audience on Threads – our plan is to work with ActivityPub to provide you the option to stop using Threads and transfer your content to another service. Our vision is that people using compatible apps will be able to follow and interact with people on Threads without having a Threads account, and vice versa, ushering in a new era of diverse and interconnected networks. If you have a public profile on Threads, this means your posts would be accessible from other apps, allowing you to reach new people with no added effort. If you have a private profile, you’d be able to approve users on Threads who want to follow you and interact with your content, similar to your experience on Instagram,” states the Threads launch announcement.

“The benefits of open social networking protocols go well beyond the ways people can follow each other. Developers can build new types of features and user experiences that can easily plug into other open social networks, accelerating the pace of innovation and experimentation. Each compatible app can set its own community standards and content moderation policies, meaning people have the freedom to choose spaces that align with their values. We believe this decentralized approach, similar to the protocols governing email and the web itself, will play an important role in the future of online platforms.”

Threads is Meta’s first app envisioned to be compatible with an open social networking protocol, and the company hopes that by joining the fast-growing ecosystem of interoperable services, Threads will help people find their community, no matter what app they use.

Threads has been rolled out in more than 100 countries for iOS and Android, and people in those countries can download the app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.


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