Meta Platforms issues an important update to its Twitter rival Threads, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg seeks to renew interest in the platform.

Zuckerberg announced the release of the desktop version of the Threads app on Tuesday, with a photo of his younger self in his dorm room, captioned: “Actual footage of me building Threads for web. Rolling out over the next few days.”

It was back in July when Meta had, as expected, officially launched its rival to Twitter with a new app called Threads, built by the Instagram team.

Threads. Image credit: Meta Platforms

Declining popularity?

Upon its release, Threads witnessed surging user demand, and it quickly grew its user base to 112 million.

The app has also received a number of updates, including a chronological feed of posts from the people or organisations that a user follows.

Meta also added a few other updates including a translation option, and another update that allows users in the Activity tab, to filter notifications by follows, replies, mentions, quoted posts, reposts and interactions from verified accounts.

Meta has also introduced a new follow button to make it easier to follow people back.

But actual usage of Threads has been a problem.

Late last month in an internal town hall meeting, Zuckerberg admitted to Meta staff that the honeymoon phase of Threads was now over.

Zuckerberg said at the time that the app lost more than half of its users in the weeks following its launch.

That said, retention of users on the text-based app was better than executives had expected, though it was “not perfect,” Zuckerberg said.

“Obviously, if you have more than 100 million people sign up, ideally it would be awesome if all of them or even half of them stuck around. We’re not there yet,” he said.

Zuckerberg said he considered the drop-off “normal” and expected retention to grow as the company adds more features to the app, including a desktop version and search functionality.

Web version

In the face of flagging usage of Threads, Meta has released launched a web version of its “Twitter killer” social media platform, which will become available over the next few days.

The arrival of a web browser functionality takes Threads a step closer to matching what X and Twitter offers.

Meanwhile Elon Musk’s Twitter is not overly happy at the arrival of Threads.

X Corp’s (owner of Twitter) lawyer Alex Spiro has threatened to sue Meta in a letter to Zuckerberg, accusing Meta of the “wilful” misappropriation of trade secrets, but without naming which secrets were allegedly stolen.

In the letter, Spiro alleged that Meta’s Threads was built by former Twitter employees “deliberately assigned” to develop a “copycat” app.

Meta has denied it has any former Twitter staff working as Threads engineers.

Indeed, Meta has been developing Threads since August 2019, but it does have its work cut out for it, if it seeks to topple Twitter (now known as X).

Last November Elon Musk tweeted that Twitter had around 260 million monetisable daily active users.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

Recent Posts

X (Twitter) Now Hides Posts Liked By Users

Elon Musk’s X platform (formerly Twitter) has this week begun hiding user likes, amid reports…

9 hours ago

US Mulls Additional AI Chip Restrictions For China – Report

Tightening the screws. Biden Administration is considering further restrictions on Chinese access to cutting-edge AI…

10 hours ago

SpaceX, Elon Musk Sued By Engineers For Unfair Firings, Sex Bias

Elon Musk and SpaceX sued by eight engineers who had been fired after calling Musk…

12 hours ago

SEC Reaches $4.5bn Settlement With Bankrupt Terraform Labs

Terraform Labs and disgraced founder Do Kwon agree to pay the US SEC a combined…

15 hours ago

WeWork Emerges From Bankruptcy Protection

WeWork, once valued privately at $47bn and seen as future of workplace, emerges from bankruptcy…

16 hours ago