Meta’s Twitter rival Threads explodes to 100 million signups; privacy concerns emerged over collection of users’ health & fitness’ and financial info’
Meta’s new Twitter competitor Threads exploded in growth since its public debut on Wednesday night, thanks in large part to the massive Instagram user base.
The news comes just a few days after Elon Musk imposed rate limits on users in what he described as a temporary move that targets “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation” by other companies and users.
According to a post by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, over 100 million people have already signed up for Threads, which he describes as a “friendly” alternative to Twitter.
https://twitter.com/realDerekUtley/status/1676753286937079808In a post on Monday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that over 100 million people had signed up for Threads, which he dubbed as a “friendly” alternative to the little blue bird.
“Threads reached 100 million sign-ups over the weekend. That’s mostly organic demand and we haven’t even turned on many promotions yet. Can’t believe it’s only been 5 days!” Zuckerberg said in a post on Monday.
The Verge also reported last week that users had already generated over 95 million posts and received 190 million likes, based on internal company data they had access to. However, Meta has not provided updated engagement metrics for Threads.
One factor contributing to the app’s booming growth is its connection to the existing social network, Instagram, which is also owned by Meta. Users can sign up for Threads using their existing Instagram handles and retain a portion of their followers as others join the app.
Jasmine Enberg, a principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, noted, “Meta only needs 1 in 4 Instagram users to use Threads monthly for it to be as big as Twitter,” emphasizing the significant potential for Threads to achieve widespread adoption.
Is Threads The New Data-Harvesting Tool?
The launch of Threads also raised a lot of privacy questions given Meta’s privacy track record. As you might remember, Facebook’s Meta agreed to pay $725 million to settle the Cambridge Analytica scandal for accessing 87 million users’ data without their consent. At the time, Facebook revealed that up to 87 million of its users had their data improperly accessed. A class action lawsuit was later brought against the company for violating users’ privacy.
Despite the positive reception and extensive media coverage surrounding Meta’s new rival to Twitter, there are growing concerns regarding data privacy and censorship. Jack Dorsey, the former owner of Twitter, has drawn attention to the substantial amount of user data collected by Threads, raising further apprehension about the platform’s data handling practices.
— jack (@jack) July 4, 2023
Dorsey is not alone in sounding the alarm bell over Threads’ collection of users’ private data. Unlike Twitter, Threads collects data about users’ “Health & Fitness,” “Financial Info,” “Sensitive Info,” and “Other Data.” In a post on SubStack, journalist Michael Shellenberger wrote,
Within a few hours of launching, Threads was already secretly censoring users and not offering them the right to appeal.
Meta is already too powerful. One company controls what much of the public is allowed to see. And if Threads succeeds, it will have 80% of the global market outside of Russia and China, according to one industry insider. As such, it’s reasonable to expect that Meta will censor precisely the same way the large news media corporations, including the New York Times, and corporate advertisers want it to. More censorship is what the mainstream news media, big corporations, and their celebrity pitch people have been demanding.…additionally, Unlike Twitter, Threads collects data about “Health & Fitness,” “Financial Info,” “Sensitive Info,” and “Other Data.”
Shellenberger further noted that within hours of launching, Threads was already secretly censoring users and not offering them the right to appeal.
.@meta /IG just released their new threads platform and I’ve been informed by multiple users that I’m censored on their new platform.
— Derek Utley (@realDerekUtley) July 6, 2023
Meanwhile, despite ongoing challenges to Twitter’s dominance, the competition for supremacy in the realm of social media is still very much alive. As various platforms vie for Twitter’s position, it remains uncertain which one will ultimately emerge victorious. Only time will reveal the outcome of this intense battle for social media supremacy.