Twitter CEO Boasts of ‘Irreplaceable’ Platform After Instagram Launches Threads: ‘We’re Often Imitated’

Linda Yaccarino, Elon Musk and many more are weighing in on Meta’s new social media experience

Linda Yaccarino
Linda Yaccarino (Getty Images)

Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino defended Twitter’s value Thursday as a “public square” a day after Instagram launched a direct competitor called Threads.

“We’re often imitated — but the Twitter community can never be duplicated,” she tweeted, stopping short of referring to Threads by name.

Threads surpassed 29 million members less than 24 hours into its launch. This giant userbase is likely a byproduct of the fact the app is an extension of Instagram, meaning anyone with an Instagram account is a few quick taps away from having a full-fledged Threads account. However, this link works both ways, as anyone who wants to permanently delete their Threads data will also have to forfeit their Instagram account (head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says his team’s looking into ways to delete Threads accounts separately).

Threads has also been flagged as a data-hungry platform, which tech figures such as Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey have reacted to.

Both Musk and Dorsey highlighted how much data Threads will extract from its users, with Musk in particular mocking Meta for claiming his platform wasn’t sanely run when Meta’s Threads, the alternative, offers users very little in the way of privacy protection. Threads’ lack of user privacy protections is why the app has not launched in the EU.

Threads’ privacy stance wasn’t the only topic reacted to by Big Tech heavyweights. Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted “Did Meta just launch a new social media website without a website?” with many replies to his tweet saying how annoying it was that Threads was a mobile-centric experience that lacked the convenience of a proper browser variant.

A lot of celebrities are already on Threads, including Shakira, Gordon Ramsay, and MrBeast. On Threads, MrBeast said “I feel like I’m cheating on Twitter by using this app ?.”

Regular folks also weighed in on Threads, with some noting the hassle of feeling compelled to juggle a new social app in an already cluttered social media landscape.

Other users were unhappy with Threads’ UI (user interface), with one user posting a meme indicating they disliked Threads’ design enough that they were making a speedy return to Twitter, having assessed that the new alternative doesn’t stack up.

Despite some users’ UI concerns and complaints about the app, Threads has given new life to those not welcome on Twitter, such as the account dedicated to tracking Elon Musk’s private jet. A remake of the account, run by University of Central Florida student Jack Sweeney, is fully operational on Threads right now (its Twitter counterpart was banned last winter). You can check out “ElonJet” on Threads at the “elonmusksjet” account, wherein Sweeney recently posted “@zuck will I be allowed to stay,” a reference to his jet-tracking Twitter account’s ban.

Amid the discourse surrounding the new app, Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg did his part to advertise Threads by posting his first tweet in over a decade, seemingly acknowledging how similar to Twitter his company’s new app is via the widely circulated “pointing Spider-Men” meme template.

Beyond Threads, there’s no shortage of Twitter lookalikes and competitors. There’s Bluesky Social, Mastodon, Hive Social and more. None of these platforms have managed to beat Twitter at its own game just yet, but Musk’s company’s wild shakeups in recent times mean anything’s possible going forward.