Facebook launched in 2004 and reached 100 million users in 2008. When the company acquired Instagram in 2012, the photo-sharing app had just reached the same milestone after roughly two years. Threads, the Twitter clone launched by Meta last week, needed just five days.
Looking back on the early excitement of the now-defunct Google+ in 2011, some may argue that Meta should temper its expectations about Threads. At that time, however, Google shoved its social network down everyone’s throat with a Gmail account. And though Threads is an extension of Instagram, it still requires action on behalf of the user as a standalone app with a separate install. The sign-up process is seamless and most reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. (Not to mention the fact that Meta has already mastered the social media universe.)
For over a decade, Twitter has been a thorn in Mark Zuckerberg’s side and he finally landed a golden opportunity to try and take it down. With a single product launch, he managed to salvage his public image simply because Elon Musk gave him an opening to do so. Twitter has become a cesspool of untrustworthy content, meaningless badges and futile culture war combat. The channel, which feels more irrelevant than ever, has been struggling for a long time now. Musk just took the wheel, turned it sharply, slammed on the gas and headed toward the edge of a cliff.
In response to the launch of Threads last week, Musk quickly filed a lawsuit and claimed that his app saw an “all-time record” week of engagement (which seems to dispute every report about its declining traffic). As Scott Galloway noted, Meta likely has more lawyers on staff than Twitter has total employees. The only social media company that matters right now is Meta, which has built an empire with an arsenal of apps that already reaches more than 3 billion people every day. As for the copycat argument, just take a look at nearly every product in Silicon Valley.