Meta, previously known as Facebook, is set to launch a web version of its social media platform, Threads. This move is a bid to reinvigorate the platform’s popularity after a promising start followed by a swift decline. Threads, a contender to X (formerly Twitter), witnessed rapid growth upon its July launch. Yet, users quickly abandoned it due to its limited functionality. Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Meta, announced the upcoming web version in a post, aiming to roll it out gradually over the coming days. This development aims to provide users with enhanced features and revive the platform’s appeal.
Expanding Horizons: Threads on the Web
The web version of Threads allows users to post threads, view their feed, and engage with others’ threads. However, certain features available on the mobile app will be absent in the initial web version. Functions like editing profiles or sending threads directly to Instagram’s messenger will not be accessible on the web version at the outset. Meta plans to introduce additional features in the following weeks to ensure a consistent experience between the web and mobile versions of the app.
Rise and Fall of Threads
Threads gained remarkable traction, amassing over 100 million users within a week of its launch. However, by the end of July, this number plummeted by more than half. Meta, a tech conglomerate encompassing Facebook and WhatsApp, hopes that the introduction of the web version will reverse this trend. Rebecca McGrath, Associate Director for Media and Technology at Mintel, noted that Threads’ initial basic form disappointed users who expected a Twitter alternative. While the web version is a crucial step, there’s still much to be done.
The Need for Enhanced Functionality
Despite its launch success, Threads lacks certain crucial features, such as a search function—a glaring omission that users and experts have pointed out. To effectively compete with X, Threads needs improved search capabilities to help users find topic-based communities. Tama Leaver, a Professor of Internet Studies at Curtin University, emphasized the significance of enhanced search functionality and highlighted Meta’s reluctance to implement hashtags, a feature synonymous with X.
Challenges and Opportunities
The landscape of Threads’ rivalry with X might be influenced by ongoing controversies surrounding the latter. Recent criticisms aimed at X, including the delay in removing a Holocaust-denying post and the planned removal of the block feature, may sway users towards Threads. The consistent controversial decisions at X could bolster the demand for an alternative. Rebecca McGrath concurred, suggesting that the “continued controversial moves” by X could sustain the demand for Threads.
Meta’s decision to introduce a web version of Threads marks a pivotal moment in its attempt to revive the platform’s appeal. While the initial version is a significant step, addressing its limitations and providing advanced features remains crucial. The absence of essential features such as a search function hinders Threads’ potential to rival X effectively. If Meta can swiftly enhance Threads’ capabilities and capitalize on X’s controversies, it might succeed in rejuvenating user interest. However, time remains a critical factor in Threads’ trajectory, demanding prompt action to ensure sustained growth and relevance.