Elon Musk is threatening to sue Threads — and a new report may shed some insight as to why Elon’s trying to take down the newly-launched “Twitter Killer.”
Meta’s new social network had already racked up more than 10 million sign-ups within seven hours of its launch, and attracted celebrities and politicians like Oprah Winfrey and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York.
But the presence of big-name advertisers such as Procter & Gamble and Ford points to the bigger commercial stakes in the fight between Mark Zuckerberg’s new platform and Elon Musk’s Twitter.
Meta is billing Threads as a “friendly” forum, but the social media giant is gunning for the blue bird. Mr. Zuckerberg wants the platform to become “a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it.” And he engaged with his nearly 600,000 Threads followers, responding with a laughing emoji when one suggested that the new social network could be Twitter’s undoing.
Advertisers are watching closely, even if they can’t buy ads there yet. “Threads could really fly and people are obviously concerned about brand safety on Twitter,” Martin Sorrell, the longtime advertising mogul who now leads S4 Capital, a digital marketing firm, told DealBook.
Twitter’s new C.E.O., Linda Yaccarino, joined last month aiming to patch relations with big brands that left the platform after Mr. Musk bought it and culled an army of content moderators. “Controversy is a negative and not something that brands want to deal with,” Mr. Sorrell said.
Meta has had its own problems with privacy and data, and some have already raised concerns about how it will handle disinformation on the platform. But the company has made strides to improve and is seen as a genuine alternative, Mr. Sorrell said, adding that the timing of the launch, just as Twitter looks to restrict how many tweets users can see, is “advantageous.”
Meta is also able to leverage the heft of its platforms and ad operations. The company has imported features from Instagram, which is used monthly by roughly two billion people. And it is targeting the same lucrative audience of digitally savvy creators, Adam Mosseri, the head of the photo-sharing app, said in an explanatory video.
One sticky feature: If a Threads user wants to delete the account, she has to also delete her Instagram account. Would that invite scrutiny from the F.T.C., which has pledged to crack down on firms that make opting out of a service too onerous, DealBook wonders?
Mr. Musk was unimpressed. “It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram,” he tweeted.
Not everyone can use Threads. It’s available in 100 countries, but not in the European Union as Meta and privacy watchdogs battle over the company’s handling of user data. There are also no direct-messaging or livestream options, unlike Twitter.
We’ll see how this all plays out…