More than 10 million people signed up to join Meta’s new “Threads” app within the first seven hours of its launch on Wednesday, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced, an early sign that the Instagram offshoot may pose a serious threat to Twitter, which has recently been marred by technical glitches and unpopular changes.
Sign-ups on Meta’s Twitter rival crossed 2 million within in the first two hours of its launch, growing to 5 million in the next two hours and doubling again to 10 million at the seven hour mark, Zuckerberg wrote on Threads.
To put that into perspective it took Facebook 852 days to reach 10 million users while Twitter reached that mark in 780 days.
Unlike other Twitter rivals like Mastodon—which has a complex sign-up process—or Bluesky—which requires invites—Threads allows users to sign up for the app and populate their profile and follow lists using their Instagram account.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk—who has recently been critical of Meta and Zuckerberg—reacted to Threads’ launch by implying that the app was nothing but a copy-paste of Twitter’s design.
Musk also tweeted that it was “infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.”
The rollout of Threads has not been entirely glitch-free, however, as Zuckerberg’s timeline failed to load.
Responding to a question about the potential of Threads becoming bigger that Twitter, Zuckerberg 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.”
The launch of Threads comes at a time when Twitter has faced criticism for enacting unpopular changes to its user experience, while the platform continues to deal with significant technical issues. Facebook isn’t a stranger to copying products and features from rival platforms and has done so with varying success. The popular “Instagram Stories” launched in 2016 and was pretty much a direct copy of a Snapchat feature that allowed users to post video clips and photos that disappeared from their timeline in 24 hours. In 2020, Meta launched its TikTok clone “Instagram Reels,” which has found popularity in places like India, where the ByteDance-owned video-sharing app has been banned. Facebook Marketplace, an online classifieds platform similar to Craigslist, has also seen strong adoption in parts of South Asia. Aside from its history of building successful copycats, Meta’s significantly larger global user base is also a key advantage it has over Twitter. Threads is an offshoot of Instagram, which has an active user count of 2 billion—roughly eight times the size of Twitter.