It’s official – Threads has surpassed 100 million users well within five days of its launch. Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that Instagram’s newest standalone app and Meta’s ‘Twitter-killer’, has rapidly risen up the ranks to be the talk of the town, breaching the 100-million milestone dramatically faster than any other platform in the short history of internet.
And yes, this does include ChatGPT – OpenAI’s chatbot that took two months to reach the milestone, while Instagram itself reached the magic number after 2.5 years. TikTok, another viral app of its time (feels like a generation back in the internet timeline) had taken 9 months to reach the same target. The number of users can be found in the Instagram app, which tracks the size of the Threads userbase.
This development comes a handful of days after it was rolled out to over 100 countries across the globe (except in the EU). Since then, the app witnessed a meteoric rise in users signing up for the service, hitting new milestones every day. It clocked 2 million signups in the first two hours of its launch, 5 million in four hours, and 10 million in seven hours. In the following days, the number of signups on the internet sensation rose to 30 million and 70 million, until it finally reached the milestone in record time, underscoring its potential as a conversation-based social media platform.
A steady growth at Threads was expected, but these numbers are nothing short of astonishing and have gone beyond Meta’s expectations for it (according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg). And from the looks of it, users are not just signing up to the Twitter-alternative, but actively engaging on the platform – as of Thursday, there were over 95 million posts and 190 million likes on the Threads app, according to a report by The Verge. Then again, Threads (unlike Twitter) can leverage Instagram’s extensive user base, which runs in the 100s of millions.
Another major reason for Threads taking off so spectacularly is the presence of numerous disgruntled Twitter users. The micro-blogging site, ever since it was bought by Elon Musk last year, has been dealing with multiple issues over the past months, and several of its decisions and policies have only served to frustrate users and/or result in employees, advertisers, and executives parting ways with the company.
Now, Meta is not actively targeting Threads to replace Twitter, according to Instagram chief Adam Mosseri – and good for them too, since Musk is suing Meta over claims that its intellectual property rights have been violated. Threads’ success is already likely to pose a new challenge for Twitter, which has been grappling with declining traffic and user concerns. As users flock to Threads for its conversation-centric features, Twitter is likely to face increased competition in capturing and retaining its user base.
“The goal isn’t to replace Twitter. The goal is to create a public square for communities on Instagram that never really embraced Twitter and for communities on Twitter (and other platforms) that are interested in a less angry place for conversations, but not all of Twitter. Politics and hard news are inevitably going to show up on Threads – they have on Instagram as well to some extent – but we’re not going to do anything to encourage those verticals,” Mosseri wrote in a Threads post.
While Threads is still in its early stages, it has the potential to establish its own cultural cachet. As users seek alternative social media platforms, Threads’ conversation-oriented approach could attract those seeking a different digital experience. It remains to be seen whether Threads can continue to thrive in the competitive social media landscape – for now, it still lacks several ‘basic’ features such as DMs and a functional search feature.