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Zuckerberg’s “TWITTER Killer” App Struggles for Traction

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s microblogging platform Threads, launched to great acclaim as Instagram’s “Twitter Killer” in July, appears to be showing signs of struggle.

The initial signs for Threads were extremely encouraging.

The platform—nearly a carbon copy of Twitter, now known as X—pulled in a staggering 100 million sign-ups in less than five days.

Forbes senior contributor John Koetsier outlined how Twitter had “imploded” under the leadership of Elon Musk and cited the “instant credibility” and “simplicity” of Threads as an alternative.

Yet nearly two months on from its seemingly successful launch, Zuckerberg’s vision of stealing Twitter’s thunder may be little more than a pipe dream.

Even NBC admitted on Aug. 24 that the platform is “struggling for traction.”

“An analysis of Android users by Similarweb, a digital data and analytics company, estimated that daily active users on Threads’ Android app peaked at 49.3 million in early July and fell to 10.3 million after a month—a drop of nearly 80%,” the media outlet reported in mid-August.

A week after its July 5 launch, daily active Threads users peaked at around 26.7 million, then gradually declined to around 13.5 million by month’s end, it said.

“Some celebrities who joined the platform before it was available to the public, such as Jennifer Lopez and Tom Brady, haven’t posted at all since launch week. MrBeast, the YouTube star who was the first user to reach 1 million followers on Threads, stopped posting about a month ago.”

One of the most common theories among conservatives for the platform’s underwhelming start is that while Twitter has finally embraced free speech, Threads is a platform governed by strict content moderation and politically driven censorship.

Allum Bokhari, a senior technology reporter at Breitbart News and author of “Deleted: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase a Movement and Subvert Democracy,” told The Epoch Times that the weakness of Threads lies in its failure to attract subversive content.

“Threads was touted as the polite, politically correct alternative to Elon Musk’s X. But when the selling point of your platform is inoffensiveness, you can’t be surprised when users simply get bored,” Mr. Bokhari explained.

“X has become friendlier to edgy, dissident content that polite society would prefer to see banned, and that’s precisely why its users remain loyal.”

Free Speech Is Not the Only Concern

Yet, issues of free speech are far from the only concern.

Jake Denton, a research associate at the Tech Policy Center for The Heritage Foundation, told The Epoch Times that while X is moving forward with offering new features, Threads still provides a disappointing user experience.

“While Zuckerberg and Meta were quick to boast about the early sign-up numbers for Threads, that momentum has rapidly dissipated, and the platform seems to be in free fall,” he said. 

“What strikes me most is the stark contrast between the early promises of an exciting new platform and the underwhelming reality that one finds upon logging in.”

Users eager for a fresh experience encountered “a feed saturated with interactions between mega-corporations and consumer brands as” Mr. Denton said, comparing it to “stumbling into a virtual networking event for their social media managers.”

“Meta will truly need a miracle to save this platform from irrelevancy. If Zuckerberg can’t find a way to bring interesting content to the platform—content that people actually want to consume—Threads will be dead on arrival,” he predicted.

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Zero Hedges

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