What is Threads? The new text-based app by Instagram

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Threads has the internet buzzing. Launched on 05 July 2023, the latest app created by the Instagram team (operated by META) has gained traction and is being closely compared to Twitter and other platforms. In this post, we’ll outline what Threads is all about, find out why it’s standing out from the crowd as well as look into any potential security threats users could face.

What is Threads?

According to Instagram "Threads is a new app, built by the Instagram team, for sharing text updates and joining public conversations." Along with text-based content - there is also the option to include links, photos, and videos.

Threads was created to allow users to enjoy a more personalised social media experience and more private communication. Built on the "Close Friends" feature of Instagram with a host of customisable settings, the creators hope that Threads can be a friendly and open online space. This focus on a more authentic and personal platform for online conversation also removes some of the pressure of maintaining an open profile online presence. Other than creating or engaging with threads (posts), the app's interface revolves around the concept of "Status," where users can quickly share their current activities, moods, and thoughts with their chosen audience.

What is all the hype about Threads?

What’s got people talking about Threads is that users have a whole lot more control over who sees what you share through the app's customised settings. Not only can you manage who sees your content, but also who can reply to your threads or mention you. The intention behind this is to create a safer, less hostile online space where users can connect with like-minded people who share similar interests. Although still very new, the social space is already gaining some traction with celebrities and established verified users, so it's worth checking out at this early stage even if it's just to see how things will change and evolve.

A great feature of that app is that because it is so closely connected to Instagram you carry your profile name over to Threads and can follow the same accounts as you do on Instagram as well as retain useful settings you have already established like blocked accounts and close friend circles. This close connection between the two platforms also has a few downsides which we’ll discuss next.

The downside side of Threads

As expected with any social media platform, Threads is facing some criticism and negative feedback. Here are some of the most common complaints against Threads:

  • Too similar to Instagram's ‘Close Friends’ feature
  • You need an Instagram account to open a Threads account
  • You can’t delete Threads if you open an account (you would have to delete your linked Instagram account)
  • You can’t have a different profile name on Instagram and Threads as they are linked

As with all new platforms these things often change with subsequent app updates so it may not always be the case.

Threads vs. Twitter

Although some say that Threads is META’s answer to Twitter, the two platforms are very different. They cater to two different types of interactions and audiences.

Twitter and Threads are similar in that both are text-based microblogging platforms where users can share text and add links, images and videos but the main difference lies in the level of intimacy and privacy each platform offers. Threads prioritise one-on-one interactions and a sense of exclusivity among a select group, while Twitter focuses on open dialogue and engagement with a wider, public audience.

That being said there is a lot of comparison raised between the two because Twitter has come under scrutiny after multiple mishaps under the ownership of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, leaving the popular social messaging platform vulnerable to competing apps.

Potential security risks of Threads

Like any social media platform, Threads comes with potential security risks that users should be aware of. The app collects and processes user data, which might include location information, contact details, and user activity.

To mitigate security risks, users must exercise caution in sharing their personal information on the app and be vigilant about their privacy settings. It is crucial to review the app's permissions and adjust them according to your comfort level. As with any profile or account, users should ensure they are using strong and unique passwords for their Threads account to reduce the risk of unauthorised access. Users should also be cautious about sharing sensitive or confidential information, as data breaches or leaks can happen even with the most robust security measures in place.

Read more:Sharenting: Protecting Children’s Privacy When Posting Online

How to join Threads

If you want to try Threads for yourself, simply download it from your phone’s app store and log in using your Instagram profile. The Threads App offers a new approach to social media, focusing on creating intimate connections and fostering genuine conversations among close friends. Its unique features, seamless integration with Instagram, and emphasis on privacy have contributed to the app's popularity. However, it's essential to strike a balance between privacy and open communication, and users must be mindful of potential security risks when using the app. Ultimately, Threads add a valuable dimension to the social media landscape, providing users with a more personal and authentic way to stay connected.