Threads is losing active and engaged users. I think I know why

After Threads' historical launch, reports show that people are using the app less.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Threads app download page on phone
Bloomberg/Contributor/Getty Images

Almost two weeks after Meta's Twitter competitor Threads launched, new reports show that the app has lost some of its popularity, despite garnering 100 million downloads in its first five days.

Also: 5 things to know about Meta's Threads app

CNBC reported that Anthony Bartolacci, managing director at Sensor Tower, a company that provides app installs' data and insights, said that Threads' launch was "truly in a class by itself." But since the hype died down, Threads saw a 20% decrease in active users and a 50% decrease in time spent on the app.

Bartolacci said that although Threads has the resources from Instagram and Meta to pull off a record-breaking launch, the affiliation alone isn't enough to keep users around. Right after Threads' launch, Twitter saw about a 5% decrease in traffic, according to CNBC's reporting.

Threads isn't the only Twitter alternative to gain and lose traction. Mastodon, a decentralized Twitter alternative, saw millions of signups immediately after Elon Musk purchased Twitter. But since late last year, Mastodon has failed to keep users' interest

Bluesky, another decentralized Twitter alternative backed by Twitter's co-founder, Jack Dorsey, has also piqued some interest but doesn't have the computing power to accommodate millions of users. Plus, invites are hard to come by.

Also: Bluesky vs. Threads vs. Mastodon: If you leave Twitter, where will you go?

Although Instagram has marketed Threads as an alternative to Twitter, it's really not. Twitter has long been known as a digital town square. It was the only social media app where laypeople could access and be noticed by politicians or public figures, as well as keep up with news in real time. 

But Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram and Threads, has said on many occasions that Threads has no plan to bolster news and political content. Its guidelines also enforce strict adherence to rules that stifle the explicit dark humor that most dedicated Twitter users enjoy.

Additionally, users have complained that Threads' algorithm turns them off from using the app. Users can't customize their feed and can only peruse content from random accounts they don't follow. Even worse, there's no way to change this issue with the app.

Also: I've used social networks since the 80s. Threads is the most annoying one I've tried 

Threads' algorithm shows users a mix of content from people they follow and from people they don't to keep users engaged with the app. But for some, the algorithm may be having the opposite effect. Because everyone hopped on Threads at once with no real understanding of the app, there wasn't a lot of content to interact with.

Users were left to read Threads from corporations that all had the same message: "So ... what do we do here?" It just wasn't fun. However, it seems that the more one uses Threads, the more the algorithm learns them and improves their Threads experience by displaying more relevant content.

Also: Twitter rival Threads aiming to add edit button and other new features

But keeping people around is a challenge Threads is getting a taste of. People like me have written the app off but might come back around the next time something goes horribly wrong at Twitter. Hopefully, by then, improved app functionality and promised features will be available and will make Threads more enjoyable.

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