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Meta to challenge Twitter

In a bid to challenge Twitter’s dominance in the social media sphere, Meta Platforms is gearing up to release a new microblogging app called Threads. This move comes on the heels of Twitter owner Elon Musk’s announcement of stricter post visibility rules, sparking discussions of a potential rivalry between the two tech giants.

Industry experts and analysts view Meta’s Threads app as a formidable contender that could give Twitter a run for its money. Since Musk assumed control of Twitter in October, the platform has grappled with declining revenue and a host of other challenges. Meta, known for its track record of emulating features from rival platforms, is expected to leverage its massive user base on Instagram to swiftly gain traction for Threads. The app is already listed on Apple’s App Store, with an anticipated release date of Thursday.

The competition between Meta and Twitter has reached new heights, with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk publicly discussing the prospect of a physical fight between themselves.

This unconventional exchange speaks to the intense rivalry and desire for alternative social media platforms that has emerged since Musk’s takeover of Twitter. Users have voiced concerns over technical glitches, employee layoffs, dwindling user numbers, and controversial content moderation practices. Musk’s recent decision to limit post visibility was driven by his intention to combat rampant “data scraping.”

While smaller startups such as Mastodon, Truth Social, and Bluesky have gained some traction as Twitter alternatives, they have yet to establish themselves as true contenders.

Steve Teixeira, Chief Product Officer at Mozilla and a former executive at both Twitter and Meta, believes that a new microblogging leader will eventually emerge. However, he cautions that it is far from certain whether Meta will claim that title, as user trust issues within the industry may hinder adoption of its new app.

Nonetheless, Meta’s advantage lies in its colossal user base of over two billion monthly active Instagram users. Even if only a fraction of these users opt to try out Threads, Meta stands to rapidly expand the user base of its microblogging app. By comparison, Twitter currently boasts 363.7 million monthly users. Meghana Dhar, a former executive at Snap and Instagram, argues that Meta’s ability to adapt successful business models and features from competitors is a testament to its strategic prowess, despite accusations of lacking innovation.

In terms of revenue potential, Twitter is projected to generate $3 billion in advertising revenue in 2023. Meta’s microblogging service is expected to generate at least that amount, and possibly more. With a larger user base, a robust roster of advertisers, and a diverse array of advertising tools and products, Meta is well-positioned to display high-value ads to a larger pool of microblogging users.

Meta’s history of replicating defining features from competitors, such as Instagram Stories (modelled after Snapchat) and Reels (resembling TikTok’s short-form videos), further illustrates its ability to successfully emulate and adapt. However, Meta’s Twitter-like product will face obstacles in terms of user migration and acclimating users to a text-driven medium. Instagram’s introduction of the “Notes” feature, which allows users to share short text blurbs, may serve as a stepping stone to prepare users for Meta’s new app.

Overall, Meta’s upcoming Threads app poses a significant challenge to Twitter’s dominance, leveraging Meta’s Instagram user base and proven ability to emulate successful features. While Meta may encounter hurdles in terms of user migration and behaviour adoption, its potential for revenue generation and ability to attract advertisers make it a formidable competitor in the microblogging arena.