Internet: Facebook group challenges Twitter with competing app

The short message service Twitter, run by Elon Musk, has a powerful new competitor.

Internet: Facebook group challenges Twitter with competing app

The short message service Twitter, run by Elon Musk, has a powerful new competitor. The Facebook group Meta launched its App Threads with similar functionality in more than 100 countries during the night.

However, Germany and other EU countries are not among them - and it remains unclear how quickly that could change. The group refers to regulatory issues that are still open. However, one will constantly check whether the app can also be offered in Europe.

Starting advantage for threads

Threads is tied to Meta's popular photo and video app, Instagram, and is considered to be Twitter's most promising competitor. The reason for this is a head start: Meta can draw on existing connections between more than a billion users for its Twitter copy right from the start. With other Twitter competitors such as Bluesky and T2, such links have to be created from scratch. In the EU, however, the merging of data from different services could be a problem.

Instagram users can easily apply their profile to the photo app for threads. Text posts on threads can be up to 500 characters long and can contain links, photos, and videos up to five minutes long. Twitter was launched in 2006 with the original text limit of 140 characters and later doubled to 280 characters. Until the launch of Threads in the EU, users from the region can see posts in a web version, but cannot share or like them.

In addition to the accounts they follow, Thread users should also get "recommended content" played into their feeds from other profiles, according to a Meta blog post. The service reserves the right to use a wide range of personal data.

Musk takeover: Twitter struggles with problems

Twitter has struggled since it was acquired by tech billionaire Musk in October 2022. Among other things, the advertising revenue with which the short message service is financed collapsed. Most recently, Musk introduced limits on how many tweets users can see each day. According to him, this is intended to prevent Twitter data being sucked off, among other things, for the training of software with artificial intelligence. Subscribers to Twitter can only see up to 10,000 tweets per day and non-subscribers up to 1,000.

Musk bought Twitter for around $44 billion - and later admitted that the valuation in discussions with investors is now significantly lower. Zuckerberg expressed hope Thursday that Threads will surpass a billion users over time. Twitter hasn't had any user numbers since Musk took over, the short message service used to have more than 300 million users. Unlike Twitter in the Musk era, Meta has no money worries and can afford staying power with threads.

Duel between Musk and Zuckerberg

With the rivalry between Twitter and Threads, the course is set for a business duel between Musk and Zuckerberg, who are increasingly appearing as rivals. In June, the two tech billionaires even agreed to an exhibition match. After initial doubts, the "New York Times" reported at the weekend that such a fight was actually being prepared - but it was still unclear whether it would actually take place. Zuckerberg, 39, trains with martial arts trainers and is visibly fitter than Musk, 52.

The Facebook group has repeatedly copied services and functions from rivals, but has had a mixed record. This worked extremely well with the Stories format invented by the photo app Snap, in which users can show their friends pictures and videos for a day. The short videos called "Reels", with which Instagram and Facebook copy the popular Tiktok app, are also growing. On the other hand, despite several attempts, the group never succeeded in establishing a competitor to Snapchat's self-deleting videos.

According to media reports, Zuckerberg also tried to buy Twitter more than a decade ago. But he was rejected by the founders.