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New Delhi: Meta has unveiled an app called Threads, which will define a new way to share with text. Threads is billed as a text-based version of Meta's photo-sharing app Instagram that the company says provides "a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations".
Threads went live late Wednesday in Apple and Google Android app stores, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying 10 million people had signed up in the first seven hours. There were some early glitches, including Zuckerberg's posts — or Threads as they are dubbed — not loading in several places, including the UK, India and Lebanon. But his replies to other users did appear.
Threads was launched in more than 100 countries — including the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada and Japan — and has already drawn celebrity users like chef Gordon Ramsay, pop star Shakira and actor Jack Black as well as accounts from Airbnb, Guinness World Records, Netflix, Vogue magazine and other media outlets.
Zuckerberg said in some early replies on Threads that he's focused on making the app "a friendly place," which will "ultimately be the key to its success."
On Threads, there are buttons to like, repost, reply to or quote a thread, and users see the number of likes and replies that a post has received. Posts are limited to 500 characters, which is more than Twitter's 280-character threshold, and can include links, photos and videos up to five minutes long.
Despite that, Meta said its "vision is that Threads will be a new app more focused on text and dialogue, modelled after what Instagram has done for photos and videos."
Instagram users will be able to log in with their existing usernames and follow the same accounts on the new app. New users will have to set up an Instagram account.
Meta emphasised measures to keep users safe, including enforcing Instagram's community guidelines and providing tools to control who can mention or reply to users. Meta's new offering, however, has raised data privacy concerns.
Threads could collect a wide range of personal information, including health, financial, contacts, browsing and search history, location data, purchases and "sensitive info," according to its data privacy disclosure on the App Store.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey pointed it out in a snarky tweet saying, "All your Threads are belong to us" that included a screenshot of the disclosure. Musk replied "yeah."
One place Threads won't be rolled out is in the European Union, which has strict data privacy rules.
The company is working on rolling the app out to more countries but pointed to regulatory uncertainty for its decision to hold off on a European launch.
Analysts said its success is far from guaranteed, citing Meta's track record of starting standalone apps that were later shut down. Zuckerberg also has been focusing on the metaverse, investing tens of billions of dollars in the virtual reality concept.
Meta is spending billions on the metaverse.
Digital content creators speaking to Business-Northeast said, "Threads is a new twitter for Genz people. While twitter is mostly used by the working class- company directors, ceo, officials, threads can be an easy to access platform for today's generation to stay connected with latest affairs and update themselves.
Within a day of its launch, Threads has over 44 million users signed up, more than 95 million posts and 10 million downloads.