Threads, Meta’s Twitter alternative, has updated its phone app again – but the update is more of a tease than an upgrade. According to the release notes, “you asked, we answered. New features coming, so keep an eye out as you browse the latest version of the app.” However, the new features are so far nowhere to be seen.
Many Threads users are hoping that the new feature being teased here is a “following” tab that would enable you to see posts from people you choose to follow rather than just random nonsense from brands and influencers. And a desktop app would be a big boost to the power users who post while working. But these features need to come soon: after the initial hype, Threads activity and user numbers have both plummeted.
Threads’ daily user count has fallen by half, and if my feed is any indication more and more people are losing their initial enthusiasm for the service. According to the Wall Street Journal, engagement – the measure of how much people interact with others on a social network – is down 70%.
That’s not great, especially as Threads isn’t the only service hoping to capture users fleeing the newly renamed X, formerly Twitter: TikTok is in there too.
What's going on with TikTok and other Twitter rivals?
This week TikTok added a new feature: text posts. As the firm said in its note to users, “With text posts, we’re expanding the boundaries of content creation for everyone on TikTok, giving the written creativity we’ve seen in comments, captions, and videos a dedicated space to shine.” Unlike Threads or X, you’ll also be able to add background sounds to your text posts.
With Elon Musk doing pretty much everything imaginable to destroy Twitter other than actually taking an axe to the servers and burning down the building, there’s a big opportunity here for rivals – but all of them appear to have issues that are preventing them from simply swanning in and taking over where Twitter left off.
Threads lacks a chronological feed, something that both Bluesky and Mastodon offer, but those services have issues too: Bluesky is still invite-only and in the middle of controversy over its moderation, or lack thereof; Mastodon is facing a problem around dealing with illegal images of abuse, and fairly or unfairly has already developed a reputation for being less than welcoming to ordinary users. For many would-be X exes, it seems that there isn’t a single New Twitter to flee to just yet.