Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta Platforms, made headlines on July 6, 2023, as he unveiled Threads, an app that has quickly gained substantial traction. Often touted as a formidable rival to Twitter by outlets such as the BBC and The Wall Street Journal, Threads witnessed a remarkable surge in popularity, amassing over 30 million sign-ups in a mere 18-hour period, followed by 100 million sign-ups on July 9, 2023. This unprecedented response has sparked a wave of enthusiasm among users and industry observers alike.
Threads’ growth is attributed to its integration with Meta’s Instagram, allowing users to sign up with their existing handles and maintain their followers as new users join the app. Nonetheless, Threads 100 million milestone was faster than OpenAI’s generative chatbot ChatGPT, which surpassed 100 million monthly users in two months.
In this blog post, we will delve into the user search interest around Twitter Vs Threads and the impact it caused on both platforms. We will analyse the public sentiment and the most recurring topics on mainstream media and Twitter.
Public’s Interest in Threads Reflected in Google Searches:
As Meta launched Threads, user interest in the app was evident as the search term “Twitter vs Threads” witnessed an interest score surge of over 2300% in the past 7 days, indicating users actively searching for the differences between the two applications. As search interest peaked on July 7, Threads surpassed 70 million signups.
The Public’s Search Actions Show an Impact on Twitter’s Traffic:
The public’s search interest in Meta’s Threads had a direct impact on web traffic to Twitter. The blue bird experienced a 42% decrease on July 7, during the first two full days after Threads became widely available followed by a 52% decrease on July 10, when Threads surpassed 100 million signups.
Upon its debut, social media mentions of Threads overtook those of Twitter on the Twitter platform itself between July 5 and July 10, 2023, reaching a distinct peak on July 7 with Threads mentions being 179% higher.
Impact on Public Sentiment (Twitter):
Twitter coverage surrounding the topic was predominantly favourable towards Meta’s Threads, with positive mentions consistently outnumbering critical mentions throughout the analysed time frame.
Out of the mentions that are positive towards Meta’s Threads, Twitter users have been discussing one recurrent topic:
- Excitement Over the Possibilities of a New Platform & Social Presence Across Mediums: Users expressed enthusiasm and encouraged their existing Twitter followers to migrate to the new platform and join the vibrant community it offers.
Apart from the meme posts, critical mentions towards Meta’s Threads focused on three key recurring topics:
- User Sign up & Censorship Concerns: Users voiced their disapproval of the app’s sign-up terms, which require users to sign up using their Instagram profile and delete their profile if they choose to delete the Threads app. Users also highlighted that Threads will be censored in comparison to the free speech app Twitter, along with collecting user data.
- Meta’s Replication Strategy: Zuckerberg’s Meta has been replicating every social media app and incorporating it into its own platform, Instagram.
- A Short-Lived Hype: A noticeable trend on Twitter was users mocking the Threads app, asserting that those who tried it would quickly return to Twitter.
Mainstream Media Topics and Sentiment:
Threads’ mainstream media sentiment followed a similar pattern to that of Twitter, with positive articles consistently outnumbering their critical counterparts throughout the analysed time frame.
Out of the articles that are positive towards Meta’s Threads, outlets have been discussing the following recurrent topic:
- Threads overall reception: The app’s debut as Twitter’s rival along with its surge in popularity and success have been the main conversation drivers for the favourable sentiment. All mainstream media outlets positioned Threads as a direct competitor to Twitter, highlighting its advantages in its active user base, celebrity involvement, and record-breaking sign-up.
Out of the articles that are negative towards Meta’s Threads, outlets have been discussing the following recurrent topics:
- Legal Actions and Consequences: The media has frequently been reporting on Elon Musk’s legal threat to Mark Zuckerberg over Threads, with mentions of three major points: A cease and desist, accusing Meta of using Twitter’s trade secrets and intellectual property, and the hiring of previous Twitter employees who improperly retained Twitter documents.
- User Signup Concerns: Mainstream media also highlighted concerns about Threads’ signup terms, which require users to sign up using their Instagram profile and delete their profile if they choose to delete the Threads app.
In conclusion, the introduction of Threads by Meta has disrupted the social media landscape, positioning itself as a strong competitor to established platforms like Twitter. The impressive early adoption rates, coupled with the immense surge in public interest, underscore the potential of Threads. However, the critical sentiment around sign-up restrictions, the company’s replication strategy, and doubts about the platform’s longevity highlight the challenges it must overcome. While Threads’ initial momentum is noteworthy, the platform’s success will ultimately depend on its ability to retain users, address criticism, and offer a distinctive, enduring value proposition in the crowded social media market.
A Note on Methodology:
This study relies on the utilisation of CARMA’s technology and third-party data, which are collected through automated means. CARMA analysed approx. 25,427,132 million Twitter Posts and 84,430 articles published from July 1st to July 12th, to understand the narratives shaping the social media landscape.