Twitter rival Threads sees 23 million signups overnight

Many have tried and many have failed, but can Mark Zuckerberg finally take down Twitter? He's off to a good start.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Instagram Threads on phone
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Threads, the Mark Zuckerberg-backed rival to Twitter, is officially live, and it's off to a booming start. According to a Thread post from Zuckerburg Wednesday night, the new service gained over 10 million users in the first 7 hours it was available.

But if you tally Instagram badges (Instagram users get a badge when they sign up for Threads), that number swelled to 23 million by Thursday morning. That's well below the 1.3 billion active users of Instagram and 335 million active users of Twitter, but it's certainly a good launching point.

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Several platforms made attempts at creating a viable rival to Twitter, but none have succeeded yet. However, as frustrations seem to be mounting with Twitter and decisions made by owner Elon Musk, it seems like the perfect chance for another service to finally be "the next Twitter."

It certainly doesn't hurt that Threads is essentially a spinoff of Instagram. Instead of starting from scratch, it has a built-in user base that is several billion people strong. 

To mark the occasion, Zuckerberg posted his first Tweet since 2012 -- the Spiderman pointing at Spiderman meme. While that was intended to be a subtle shot at his competition and the similarities between the two platforms, he was a little less subtle on Threads, writing, "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."

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There are, naturally, some growing pains. At least for now, Threads doesn't have an option to simply see a chronological feed of the people you follow. Instead, the algorithm spits out posts from people it thinks you want to see based on who you follow. Additionally, there's no way to edit a post, no hashtags, no direct messaging, no easy way to switch between multiple accounts, and it's not available in Europe.

Another hurdle at the moment is that there's no way to fully use the platform on a web browser. Users can read through a regular browser, but posting is limited to Android and iOS apps. 

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Despite early issues, users seem to be at least interested in Threads. Of course, simply signing up to stake a claim to an account name is a far cry from actually using the service. Whether people continue to actively use the service is the question at hand. If Zuckerberg takes the position of listening to users and responding to what they want, Threads may be in good hands. 

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