Within the first few hours of its launch, more than 10 million people signed up for Threads, Meta’s rival to Twitter, according to the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
The app went live on Apple and Android app stores in 100 countries on Wednesday at 2300 GMT and will run without ads for the time being, but its release in Europe has been delayed due to data privacy concerns.
Threads is the most serious competitor to Elon Musk’s Twitter, which has seen a slew of potential rivals emerge but has yet to replace one of the world’s largest social media platforms, despite its struggles.
“10 million sign-ups in seven hours,” Zuckerberg wrote on the official Threads account on Thursday.
Accounts for celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and Hugh Jackman, as well as media outlets such as The Washington Post and The Economist, were already active.
Zuckerberg also fired a shot across Musk’s bow; the two are known to be bitter rivals and have offered to wrestle in a cage fight.
In his first tweet in over a decade, Zuckerberg posted a Spiderman pointing at Spiderman meme, a clear reference to the similarities between Threads and Spiderman.
On Threads, he wrote:
It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully, we will.
Twitter has said it has more than 200 million daily users.
Threads was introduced as a clear spin-off of Instagram, which offers a built-in audience of more than two billion users, sparing the new platform the challenge of starting from scratch.
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri told users that Threads was intended to build “an open and friendly platform for conversations.”
“The best thing you can do, if you want that too, is be kind,” he said.
Zuckerberg is widely understood to be taking advantage of Musk’s chaotic ownership of Twitter to push out the new product, which Meta hopes will become the go-to platform for celebrities, companies and politicians.
“It’s as simple as that: if an Instagram user with a large number of followers such as Kardashian or a Bieber or a Messi begins posting on Threads regularly, a new platform could quickly thrive,” strategic financial analyst Brian Wieser said on Substack.
Analyst Jasmine Engberg from Insider Intelligence said Threads only needs one out of four Instagram monthly users “to make it as big as Twitter.”
Twitter users are desperate for an alternative, and Musk has given Zuckerberg an opening, she added.
Under Musk, Twitter has seen content moderation reduced to a minimum, with glitches and rash decisions scaring away celebrities and major advertisers
He has angered Twitter’s most devoted aficionados by declaring that access to its TweetDeck product – which allows users to view a fast flow of tweets at once – would be for paying customers only.