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Threads, Instagram’s Twitter competitor, nears launch

A post from Mark Zuckerberg to his account on the new Threads app, set for launch Thursday, was briefly visible Wednesday morning.
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The public has gotten a first glance at Meta’s new Twitter competitor, Threads.

A post from Mark Zuckerberg to his account on the new app, set for launch Thursday, was briefly visible Wednesday morning. Matt Navarra, a social media consultant, published a screenshot of the post to Twitter, which was also seen by NBC News.

“Let’s do this. Welcome to Threads,” the account posted. The post became unavailable to the public just minutes later. 

Meta’s CEO also posted a story to his Instagram account teasing the app’s forthcoming rollout.

On Instagram, the homepage of Threads showed Wednesday a live countdown to the app’s expected kickoff, alongside a QR code redirecting users to the app’s page on the Apple App store. Users can also access an invitation to Threads through the Instagram app.

From the brief website preview posted on Instagram, Threads appears to have similar functionality as Twitter. Users can post content and share, repost and comment on other people’s posts. 

Threads is set  to be introduced in the U.S. and the U.K., but Meta will reportedly delay the launch in the European Union until E.U. regulators clarify the bloc’s data privacy laws. Meta is the parent company of Instagram and Facebook.

Usernames and profile pictures in Threads appear to be identical to the users’ Instagram profiles, but their following apparently won’t automatically carry over between the two platforms. For example, Zuckerberg’s Threads account had around 1,800 followers while his Instagram account has over 11 million followers, according to the post that was briefly visible.

Meta’s rollout of Threads comes as Twitter continues a tumultuous run under the ownership of Elon Musk.

A series of changes implemented abruptly over the weekend, including limiting the number of posts Twitter users could read in a day, coincided with thousands of users reporting that the site’s core service had become unavailable. 

Threads will join a growing batch of smaller Twitter alternatives that have sprung up, including Bluesky and Mastodon, though none have the built-in audience of Instagram.

Beyond the corporate competition, Musk and Zuckerberg also have a burgeoning personal clash brewing. Zuckerberg and Musk have both said they are game for a cage fight against the other.