Remember how progressives were all giddy about Threads, Meta’s new social media platform? In the leadup to the launch of the new app, folks on the left surmised that it would become the “Twitter killer” and put an end to Elon Musk’s quest for free speech online once and for all.
User engagement on Threads has continued to fall after an initial surge in sign-ups, putting pressure on parent Meta Platforms to roll out new features for its nascent microblogging app.
For a second week in a row, the number of daily active users declined on Threads, falling to 13 million, down about 70% from a July 7 peak, according to estimates from market intelligence firm Sensor Tower.
The average time users spend on the iOS and Android apps has also decreased to four minutes from 19 minutes. The average time spent for Android users in the U.S. dropped to five minutes from a peak of 21 minutes on launch day, according to SimilarWeb, a digital data and analytics company.
Twitter’s daily active users remain steady at about 200 million, and average time spent is at 30 minutes a day, according to Sensor Tower estimates.
Meta executives have said they expected an eventual decline after the app gained more than 100 million sign-ups within a week of its launching earlier this month. They have signaled that they don’t see the falloff as worrisome and have said they are working on additional features. Meta aims to increase the number of users and improve the experience before trying to monetize the platform.
“It’s clear by the drop-off that people are seeing they can’t do as much, and there are certain things that they want to be able to do that perhaps they can do on other apps,” said Richard Hanna, a professor at Babson College who studies social-media strategy and digital marketing. There is a need to increase what the app can do, he said.
Some reviewers have suggested that Threads may seem dull to users who follow the same people they do on Instagram, and the prevalence of company brands on the platform has been a concern for some users. Also, the platform does not push politics as Twitter does. Despite the challenges, analysts believe Meta has the resources and patience to invest in the app’s success and add necessary features to differentiate it from other platforms.
It is worth noting that Meta’s leadership knew that engagement would drop off after the initial launch. But a 70 percent drop is still pretty steep, nonetheless.
As someone who has tried Threads, I’d say the criticisms are apt. It simply is not as interesting for someone like myself as Twitter is – at least not yet. The interface is very Twittteresque, which is why some call it a clone of the platform. But there does not seem to be enough going on with the site to hold my interest.
However, this does not mean that Threads is doomed. It still has time to go through its growing pains and figure out how to raise its engagement. But it’s far from certain that it will ever become a “Twitter killer.”
Twitter is still an interesting platform, even with all its flaws. Under Musk’s leadership, the company is working to expand its offerings and provide a better outlet for content creators. It has become much better for those expressing views that contradict progressive narratives. Even with its issues, it has become more enjoyable than it was in the past. To put it simply: Twitter isn’t going anywhere.