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Media frenzy amongst Nigerians over launch of Threads

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Media frenzy amongst Nigerians over launch of Threads

Adebayo Obajemu (with agency report)

Nigerians love innovations, and follow global trends in all spheres of life, and this is even more pronounced in social and digital spheres. Thus, when social media users across the world on Wednesday, July 5, 2023 welcomed a new micro-blogging site, Threads, launched by Mark Zuckerberg’s Mega Platforms, owners of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Nigerians constituted a sizable number of the welcoming global public that greeted the challenge to Twitter with zest and excitement.

Within hours of its launch over 10 million people signed up globally, including prominent Nigerian celebrities and politicians, and already the usual social media fight has begun when Funke Akindele announced her arrival at Threads. The Nollywood actress was taken to the cleaners on social media once more, but this time it was on Thread.

Akindele had made a post depicting her irrepressible flair for fashion, a disclosure the netizens on the new app found nauseating and vulgar, accusing her of being petty. She had posted on Threads her love for shoes:

“I love shoes,” she said. Surprisingly, some of her followers found her first message naive and inappropriate, saying the actress was using the new site for mundane messaging.

A netizen advised her not to write about her love for shoes on the new app, stating that it was a place for meaningful conversations.

By 12:00pm last Thursday, July 6, a lot of Nigerian celebrities, politicians, business organizations, entrepreneurs, and even pastors had joined the new social media app in their bid to continue to promote their brand or maintain their existing follower-ship.

Among popular figures that hopped on the new site include entertainers like Burna Boy, gbscent, Ebuka, Mr. Macaroni, yabaleftonline, Josh2funny, among others

Even prominent religious leaders like Pastor E. A. Adeboye and Pastor Folu Adeboye have also registered their presence on the platform by leaving a “God bless you!” message to their followers, just as Pastor Oyedepo Ministries Intl. has also dropped a thread.

Leading politicians like Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, and former vice president Yemi Osibanjo have always embraced Threads.
While Nigerians have started joining, Reuters reported that those quick to join the new platform included celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, as well as prominent politicians, such as Democratic U.S. Representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“Let’s do this. Welcome to Threads,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, wrote in his first post on the app, along with a fire emoji. He said the app logged 10 million sign-ups in seven hours.

Zuckerberg also took to Twitter, posting a well-known meme of Spiderman facing off against Spiderman – in a humorous jab at the rivalry with Elon Musk and between the two services.

Analysts have said Threads’ ties to Instagram might give it a built-in user base and advertising apparatus. That could siphon ad dollars from Twitter at a time when its new CEO is trying to revive its struggling business.

While Threads launched as a standalone app, users can log in using their Instagram credentials and follow the same accounts, potentially making it an easy addition to existing habits for Instagram’s more than two billion monthly active users.

Others saw the launch of Threads as an opportunity to create a less toxic version of Twitter.

“May this platform have good vibes, strong community, excellent humor, and less harassment,” Ocasio-Cortez said in her post.

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Much like Twitter, the app features short text posts that users can like, re-post and reply to, although it does not include any direct message capabilities. Posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos and videos up to five minutes long, according to a Meta blog post.

It is available in more than 100 countries on both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, the blog post said.

As at Friday last week, Meta’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg, stated that the company was aiming at one billion users soon, but as at Friday it had garnered over 30 million users in 100 countries according to Zuckerberg.

According to reports, it took Google+ 16 days, ChatGPT 40 days, Clubhouse 347 days, Instagram 355 days, Twitter 780 days, and Facebook 852 days to hit 10 million users.

Threads comes on stream on the back of complaints against Elon Musk-owned Twitter, which has come under a lot of criticism since the billionaire acquired it. Recently, the app announced a view limit for tweets.

When a user asked if Threads would become bigger than Twitter, Zuckerberg replied, “It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conservations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.”

According to a report , Threads might get monetise once it crosses one billion users.

The report quoted Zuckerberg, “Our approach will be the same as all our other products: make the product work well first, then see if we can get it to a clear path to one billion people, and only then think about monetisation at that point.”

Many global public figures and celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, and Shakira, as well as media outlets including The Washington Post and The Economist, have joined Threads app.

Threads is yet to be released in Europe because of concerns over data privacy. Meta has come under strong criticism in Europe, for its handling of personal data, and it could take a while before it launches in the region.

The App, which has now gained about 30 million sign-ups as of the close of last week has been likened to Twitter, but some features differ according to analysts.

Differences

Spaces

Twitter has a Spaces feature that allows users to have live audio conversations that anyone can join in and listen to, but Threads does not.

The search bar

While the search bar of Twitter allows you to search for Twitter users, explore trendy topics around the world and in your immediate environment and find trendy videos, the Threads search bar only enable you to search for users to follow.

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Engagement/reaction icons

Under posts on Twitter, there are options to like, comment, retweet, see the number of views, bookmark, and share the links, but for Threads, you can only like, comment, repost, or share the link.

Hamburger button options

The Hamburger button on Twitter allows you to unfollow a user, add or remove a user from your list, add a user to your Twitter cycle, mute the user, block the user or report the tweet. For Threads, this button only allows you to unfollow, mute, hide or report a post or user.

Direct Message

While Twitter has a direct message option for chatting privately with your followers, the Threads App does not have this.

Threads, which is a free download app, is open to over 30 languages including Greek, has age rating of 12+ and is available in over 90 countries, including the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America.

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