As Twitter rebrands to X, its future remains uncertain. Meta’s launch of Threads, an app that features real-time, public conversations, has quickly gained attention for its striking similarities to Twitter. It has sparked discussions inside the Beltway on how it will disrupt the political media landscape.
Twitter, traditionally the primary channel for microblogging for businesses, policymakers, and journalists alike, now faces stark competition after the launch of Threads, a companion to Instagram. With a historic launch, Threads became the fastest-downloaded app of all time, with over 100 million downloads in a few days. However, user engagement on Threads decreased significantly after its first week.
Hundreds of lawmakers, including Members of Congress, have joined the platform. While many policymakers are taking a wait-and-see approach, several are already posting threads, including Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA.), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-NC).
Given that Threads is tied to users’ Instagram accounts, Instagram’s one billion users cause significant concern for Twitter, which has about 350 million users. But there are still a range of Twitter features that don’t yet exist in Threads that may delay widespread adoption among brands and companies. Firstly, Threads is currently a mobile-only platform with no desktop access. Additionally, there are currently no advertising options, analytics, or integrations with third-party community management platforms that assist with scheduling content.
While these features may hinder the widespread adoption of Threads in the short term, Meta will likely address these features as it continues to roll out and evolve the platform. Just last week, for example, Threads rolled out its first set of updates, which includes a translation button and a tab to see followers.
One key audience being watched is advertisers. As brand safety concerns arose under Elon Musk’s Twitter, many businesses pulled their advertising spend on Twitter, which can shift to Threads when Meta makes advertising available on the platform.
While Threads has the potential to shake up the social media landscape, whether it can replace Twitter as the leading source for breaking news will determine if it can disrupt the mainstream political media landscape.