The Rise and Fall of Threads: The New Meta Social Network

In July 2023, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, launched a new social media platform called Thread. In just seven days, Threads attracted an astonishing 100 million users, demonstrating its potential to disrupt the social media market and pose significant implications for X (Twitter).

Unfortunately, by September 2023, interest in Threads had declined precipitously, dropping to just 3% of its peak.


The Squandered Potential of Threads

Threads is a text-based social media platform that allows users to share and interact with posts of up to 500 characters. The platform is visually similar to X, with some terminology changes: retweets are now “reposts,” and tweets are “threads”. Threads users can also post videos of up to five minutes in length2, providing a richer, more engaging experience than X’s text-dominated platform.

The integration with Instagram represented a rapid way for Threads to gain users quickly. Threads users need an Instagram account to log in, and they can choose to follow the same accounts they follow on Instagram2. This feature theoretically made the transition to Threads seamless for many users, contributing to its rapid user growth.

Threads’ potential extends beyond its user-friendly features. Meta announced plans to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub, a technology that underpins decentralized social networks. This compatibility would allow users to transfer their accounts and followers to other ActivityPub-supported apps, providing a level of flexibility and user control that is rare in the social media space.

Unfortunately, talking about future features didn’t make Threads particularly usable. The audience voted by not bothering to go back.

The Implications for X

Threads’ rapid growth and user-friendly features could have posed a significant threat to X. The platform’s launch came at a time when X was facing challenges, including user dissatisfaction and controversies surrounding its new owner, Elon Musk. Threads’ potential to offer a similar but enhanced user experience could have drawn users away. And September 2023 indications that X plans to charge every user a fee could have driven (and may still drive) Threads adoption higher and higher.

Unfortunately, the Threads platform still isn’t good enough.

Challenges of Threads

  1. Usage: The rise and fall of Threads usage highlights the dangers of launching a less-than-MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Even if you attract more than hundred million signups at breakneck speed, if you don’t deliver, your support can evaporate just as quickly.
  2. Lack of customised content: Despite all the concerns about the “filter bubble” in most social networks (we’re only shown content that reflects our existing interests), it turns out that when we’re served random content without algorithmic guidance, it’s not particularly interesting or relevant. Without appropriate algorithms in place, Threads’ content visibility and engagement is definitely problematic.
  3. Monetization: Currently, Threads does not run ads or offer ways for creators to monetize, which definitely limits its appeal.
  4. Platform Stability: As a new platform, Threads may face stability issues or changes in its features and policies, which could affect marketing strategies.

Marketers will need to monitor these factors before choosing to develop a Threads marketing strategy. At this point in time, frankly, there’s no reason to do so.

Post updated September 2023.



  1. Business Insider
  2. The Guardian
  3. Forbes
  4. Search Engine Journal
Michael Carney Written by: