In a stunning success in less than 48 hours, Threads, Meta's new bid to compete with Twitter, has surpassed 70 million users, making a significant impact on the social networking landscape and generating concern at Twitter to the point of threatening legal action against Meta.
However, this rapid success raises new concerns and challenges that must be considered.
In this article, we will explore the new social network Threads, its impact on consumers and the possible implications in terms of competition.
The explosive growth of Threads and its consequences
The launch of Threads has led to rapid growth in its user base, who seem to be looking for an alternative to the chaos on Twitter, especially after the changes implemented by Elon Musk.
However, this sudden success raises a number of concerns. Meta has come under fire in the past for its dominance in the market and accusations of copying and deleting competing apps.
Now, some competition experts and Threads users fear that Meta and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, will amass even more power and dominance in the social networking market.
The power of Instagram and its influence on Threads
Threads' success is largely due to the power and reach of one of Meta's most important properties - Instagram. With more than 2 billion users, Instagram far exceeds Twitter's 238 million users prior to Musk's control.
When signing up for Threads, new users use their Instagram accounts and are prompted to follow all of their contacts with a single tap. While optional, it's easy to accept this option, and declining it requires a conscious decision.
By promoting Threads through Instagram and sharing user data between the two platforms, Meta has facilitated the onboarding process for the new social network. This seamless integration has allowed Threads to overcome the "cold start" challenge, where a new platform struggles to attract users due to a lack of interaction.
Thanks to the integration with Instagram, this hurdle has been overcome early on, leading to optimism among investors and experts.
Monopoly concerns and antitrust regulations in Europe
However, Threads' immediate success raises concerns in terms of competition, especially in Europe, where new antitrust regulations for digital platforms will soon come into force.
Under the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), "digital gatekeepers," which would include Meta and its subsidiaries, will be prohibited from combining user data from multiple platforms without consent. Another restriction prevents requiring users to sign up for one platform in order to use another.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri acknowledged this concern in a recent interview, citing the complexity of complying with the new laws that will go into effect next year. This indicates uncertainty around Threads' competitive impact and raises questions about Meta's competitor copying and removal practices.
The future of Threads and its impact on advertisers and users
While the competitive landscape is still unclear, Threads has certainly generated competition in the social networking market. However, there is a possibility that its success will strengthen the power of Meta's advertising marketplace once advertising is introduced on the platform.
This could lead to increased antitrust scrutiny, even if the question of competition in social networks remains ambiguous.
Interoperability with other social networks, such as Mastodon, is a feature that could mitigate competition concerns. This would allow users to migrate their accounts and follower data to a platform not controlled by Meta.
Although this option is not yet available, its future implementation could provide fairer and more equitable competition in the social networking market.