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Meta is expected to launch its own rival to Twitter as soon as Thursday in a move that threatens Elon Musk’s group as he faces a backlash from users over his management of the social media platform.
Meta’s new app, called Threads, is “expected July 6”, according to a listing on the Apple App Store. Similar to Twitter, it will be a text-based platform on which users can publish posts that can be replied to, liked or shared.
Threads will be directly linked to Instagram, Meta’s popular photo-sharing platform, with users able to easily port their username and followers to the new app. “Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow,” read the App Store description.
It is unclear what the exact scope of the rollout will be or whether the app will also be launched on Android.
Meta’s new release represents a direct challenge to Twitter and comes as many users have sought alternatives to the Musk-owned platform since he bought it for $44bn in October. Some users and advertisers have protested against or fled Twitter over Musk’s more relaxed approach to content moderation and his decision to introduce disruptive tweaks to the product.
Musk sparked a flurry of criticism on Saturday when he introduced temporary limits on the number of posts users could view, which he said was an attempt to “address extreme levels of data scraping [and] system manipulation” on the platform. Twitter’s newly appointed chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, also received criticism for not publicly speaking on the matter.
Twitter has also suffered several outages as Musk has slashed staff numbers and cut costs in an attempt to boost its finances.
Other platforms that have sought to lure disaffected Twitter users in the wake of Musk’s takeover — such as Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky, Donald Trump’s Truth Social and Mastodon — have failed to take off with users.
Meta is known for deliberately cloning rivals in its attempt to defend its market share, most notably when it created its own version of the disappearing vertical video clips first popularised by smaller platform Snap. Meta has more recently been pushing a new short-video format called Reels similar to that of ByteDance-owned TikTok.
The Twitter-like app from deep-pocketed Meta also comes after Musk wrote on his platform that he was “up for a cage match” with Meta’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who has recently rebranded himself as a ju-jitsu aficionado.
Zuckerberg later replied indicating that he would fight his billionaire rival in the ring. It is unclear if and when the match will take place.
Meta and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.