Meta's Threads Is Already Fraying

Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP

“Threads is going to curb-stomp Twitter,” The Spectator’s Ross Anderson confidently predicted just one day after Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg launched his new social media platform on July 5. Anderson noted that Threads “had 2 million users within two hours; 10 million with[in] seven hours,” and its Blob-like growth didn’t stop there. Threads reached the milestone of 100 million signups in a record-setting five days. “Twitter is dead,” Anderson concluded, “Welcome to Threads.”


There’s just one problem: the daily active user base is rapidly shrinking, and engagement — that’s the amount of time people spend on the Threads app — has dropped by more than two-thirds.

According to a report on Monday from SimilarWeb, Meta’s Twitter-killer platform has seen its daily active users on Android drop “from 49 million to 23.6 million.” User engagement peaked on July 7 (just two days after Threads launched) at 21 minutes. “By July 14,” SimilarWeb reported, “that was down to a little over 6 minutes.”

(User numbers for Apple’s iOS, which makes it more difficult to collect user data, will be available in the coming weeks. But there’s no reason to believe that iPhone owners are terribly more involved with Threads than Android owners are.)

Twitter has more than 109 million daily active users just on Android.

Signups have stalled, too. After hitting 100 million in five days, Threads has added only 12 million more in the following week-plus. The initial surge has dwindled to a trickle.

What went wrong? Two things.

The first is that Meta is just no fun. Siva Vaidhyanathan put it this way for The Guardian late last week: “The vapidity of the Threads experience makes me yearn for the trolls of Twitter.”

When I open up Threads all I see is a series of posts that read like fortune cookies. They are a series of positive affirmations. It’s lots of people offering therapeutic salves that purport to help everyone. One of the first Threats (the best thing I can think of to call a post on Threads) I read was: “Today’s Reminder: Don’t forget to take a deep breath.” A few scroll motions later I found: “Broken crayons still color.”


Vaidhyanathan explains that’s actually by design. “Instagram head and Threads founder Adam Mosseri says algorithms won’t promote serious or political content.” Mosseri himself tweeted — er, threaded? — that “We are definitely focusing on kindness and making this a friendly place.”


Seemingly paradoxically, maybe it was just too easy to sign up for Threads. If you had an Instagram account — and all those Instagram friends and followers — you weren’t more than one quick download and one quick signup away from bringing them along with you to the new platform. On most new social media platforms, you show up all by yourself and have to actively find other people. With Threads, Meta eliminated that chore.

So the new platform enjoyed incredibly rapid growth because the costs of entry and of gaining followers were so low. But when users arrived, they obviously didn’t find much of interest to read or do there, despite the likes of serial jerkwad Ron Perlman announcing (on Twitter, naturally), “I’m taking my business to THREADS. Haters stay the f*** out.”

Threads also might have a top end on their user base. In order to sign up, users must first have an account with Meta’s Instagram. To get on Instagram, users have to pony up their phone number and agree to have their personal data anally probed each night by Zuckerberg. I, who have tried every new Twitter killer that anyone ever launched, said, “No way, Jose.”


Even with more than 100 million users, there’s nothing interesting, nothing engaging… there’s no conflict to keep people on Threads.

Nobody goes there anymore — it’s too crowded.

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