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Meta’s Threads: Will Elon Musk’s X Be Overtaken by Zuckerberg’s Platform?

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Recently, Meta’s Threads celebrated its first anniversary, capping a year of noteworthy developments and explosive growth. When the social network was launched, it made headlines, shattering records and becoming the app with the highest growth rate globally after surpassing 100 million users in just five days. Even with this strong beginning, Threads still has a long way to go before it can surpass Elon Musk’s X (previously Twitter).

A Year of Development and Difficulties
Though at a slower rate, Threads has expanded since its launch. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg said that there are currently over 175 million active monthly users on Threads. Its smooth Instagram connection, which enables users to sign up with ease and locate contacts with ease, is largely responsible for this development. The launch of the platform happened at the same time when many users were looking for Twitter substitutes after Musk bought the company.

X, on the other hand, has seen stagnant growth. The platform showed a slight 1.6% year-over-year growth in globally active daily users, reaching 251 million in the second quarter of this year, according to The Financial Times. Compared to Twitter’s double-digit growth rates prior to Musk’s takeover, this is a far cry.

Distinctiveness and Moderating
The CEO of Instagram and Threads, Adam Mosseri, has said that surpassing X is still the objective. But he made it clear that Threads wants to set itself apart by fostering a friendlier atmosphere. Mosseri told Platformer, “Another key focus is how do we double down on one of our differentiators, which is just to be a less angry space,” emphasizing the importance of basic content control.

Although Threads hasn’t yet seriously threatened Musk’s platform, Zuckerberg first marketed it as a “friendlier” substitute for X. “Threads does not pose a significant challenge to X in the short term at least,” stated Paul Carter, CEO of GWS, a telecommunications company, to Business Insider. If Threads is going to present a serious threat to X or possibly try to surpass it in the future, it has to differentiate itself further.”

Problems with Engagement
Threads has problems with user engagement even with its expanding user base. Threads has 38 million daily views, according to data from analytics company Sensor Tower, indicating that users open the app less frequently than other platforms. X had 22 million daily active users in the US, while Threads had an average of 28 million, according to Sensor Tower’s April report.

Carter observed that Threads had trouble maintaining user interest. “As of June 2024, users spent just six minutes on the app each day, compared to X at 23 minutes or Instagram at 36 minutes,” he stated. This suggests that even while Threads has drawn a sizable user base, it still needs to focus on maintaining their attention.

Reliance on Instagram
There are concerns regarding Threads’ capacity to exist alone because of its continued heavy reliance on Instagram. “Threads remains highly dependent on Instagram — in fact, it is hard to see how Threads would have amassed its audience without Instagram,” Carter stated. Although Mosseri acknowledged this reliance, he also disclosed intentions to add features like data separation and Threads-only accounts to increase Threads’ independence.

The Path Ahead
Threads will have a difficult time catching up to X as it begins its second year. Even while Meta is still supporting the platform, it needs to solve problems with engagement and forge a more robust autonomous identity. The social media scene is always changing, and up-and-coming platforms like TikTok have shown that success is achievable. The difficulty for Threads is differentiating oneself and developing a special value proposition that appeals to customers.

Only time will tell if Zuckerberg’s platform can respond to the challenge and carve out its own position in the ever-evolving social media landscape between Elon Musk’s X and Meta’s Threads.

What do you think?

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