- Threads is now the fastest growing platform of all time. Meta and Twitter staff didn’t expect this.
- Many people at Meta are surprised. “I don’t get it,” said Instagram boss Adam Mosseri.
- Meanwhile, Elon Musk and Twitter are sweating their “first legitimate competitor.”
Meta had relatively low expectations for Threads, the text-based Instagram offshoot released Wednesday night to compete with Twitter. Even Twitter employees weren’t particularly concerned that another competitor was emerging.
That changed quickly. On Monday, after just five days of threads being available for consumption, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on the app that 100 million people had signed up so far, noting that the growth was “mostly organic demand.” may be. This makes Threads the fastest growing platform of all time.
“I’m so surprised. That’s all,” said a Meta contributor who helped publish Threads but didn’t work directly on the product, of how quickly the app gained users.
Meta contributors expected Threads to quickly reach millions of users, maybe as many as 10 million given the connection to Instagram, the person added. Meta, formerly known as Facebook, made it easy for Instagram’s 2 billion average daily users to thread and transfer their followers to the new app.
100 million users were more than even Instagram boss Adam Mosseri had expected. In his Threads post, he said the growth was “insane.”
“I can’t understand it,” Mosseri said.
Twitter officials consider Threads the company’s “first legitimate competitor” at a time when “so many people are hoping Elon fails,” said a person familiar with the company. Elon Musk, the moody Tesla billionaire, has owned Twitter since late last year, wreaking havoc on an app with a dedicated user and employee base, thousands of whom have been laid off or laid off since the takeover.
“I never thought I’d want Zuckerberg to beat Twitter, but here we are,” said a former employee.
Meta and Twitter representatives declined to comment.
Threads is “serious competition”
In a private employee survey by Insider on Blind, an app popular with tech workers, nearly 70% of approximately 200 participating Twitter employees answered “yes” to the question “Threads, RIP Twitter?” Blind only allows people with a verified business email Mail address participation in private forums.
In a separate private post on Blind, a Twitter employee called Threads “serious competition” and pointed out that by linking to Instagram, the app immediately “gained quality users and celebs to the graphics population.”
“Average users only care about network effects and content,” the person added. “Damn, Zuck, why can’t you start worrying about the metaverse again?”
The folks at Twitter, including Musk, didn’t expect Threads to have close to 100 million users in less than a week, one source said. Musk quickly got on the defensive, sending Zuckerberg a cease-and-desist letter based on seemingly flimsy legal claims and tweeting about his own Dislike of Instagram. As Zuckerberg continued to post about the threads’ daily growth, Musk called Zuckerberg an “idiot” and challenged him to a “cock measuring contest.”
Inside Twitter, Musk and new CEO Linda Yaccarino have not officially commented on threads, much as they largely ignored staffers who were surprised at the “rate caps” imposed on users during the July 4th holiday.
Yaccarino also took a defensive stance on Twitter, but again took a more professional approach than Musk, alluding to Threads in a Friday post that said, “We’re often imitated – but the Twitter community never duplicates.” On Monday she released that Twitter recently had the “biggest day of usage since February,” without giving details.
“There is only ONE Twitter. You know it. I know,” Yaccarino added, ending the post with the mic emoji that usually signals putting the mic down.
Meanwhile, the remaining Twitter employees are “just trying to keep their heads down and work on payments and videos,” said one of those familiar with the company. Musk is trying to expand Twitter’s video capabilities and make Twitter the “everything app,” much like WeChat in China.
Threads is a big opportunity for Meta
Wall Street is already anticipating that Threads will be a potential new source of money for Meta. Last week, Meta stock hit a new high of last year at over $294 per share.
Threads could reach 10% of Instagram’s daily active users, or 200 million people who use the app daily, which is roughly equivalent to Twitter’s current 250 million daily active users, according to a note Monday from Mark Mahaney, who is responsible for the Conducts internet research for Evercore ISI.
Threads isn’t making Meta money yet, said another person familiar with the company, but it’s also costing the company “nearly nothing.” The engineering team that developed the app consists of just 15 people, while the entire Threads team currently consists of just 50 people, with Threads running on Instagram’s existing infrastructure. And Meta doesn’t currently pay YouTubers or celebrities to subscribe to Threads or post, two people familiar with the company said.
With 200 million users, Threads Meta could generate $8 billion in additional revenue per year, Mahaney estimated. That’s more than Twitter has ever generated. Twitter generated $5 billion in revenue in 2021, its best-ever year and the last full year the company reported earnings as a public company. Under Musk, Twitter’s core advertising business was decimated.
“Twitter’s turbulent implementation has given a competitor app an opportunity,” Mahaney said. “Meta has cleverly leveraged this and its large 2+ billion DAU community to launch a new app that we believe will bring very little downside to Meta’s current business.”