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What you need to know about Threads, Instagram’s new Twitter competitor

Instagram’s Threads app, a text-based social media platform poised to become Twitter̵[ads1]7;s latest competitor, is now available to users in more than 100 countries.

The app, which was released Wednesday night, a day before its planned debut, allows users to sign up directly from their Instagram accounts. That means once it launches worldwide, more than 2 billion monthly active users can import their accounts into Threads.

Within just seven hours of its launch, Threads had attracted at least 10 million sign-ups, including a growing number of celebrities, a spokesperson said. Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Gordon Ramsay, Tom Brady and Coldplay were among those who signed up to the app early, the spokesperson said.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on the new platform that he hoped to see the Threads community grow to over one billion members. He also took to Twitter for what appeared to be his first post in over a decade, sharing a popular Spider-Man meme in what appeared to be a nod to Threads’ similarities to Twitter.

The app opens up a scrollable feed of short-form text limited to 500 characters per post, with the option to add individual images or carousel images and videos. Posts will contain content from accounts users follow, as well as from creators suggested by the platform’s recommendation algorithm. Viewers can engage by liking, commenting, reposting – including quoting a post – and sharing to their Instagram story or feed.

A view of Threads’ mobile interface.Meta

While most features mimic Twitter, the user interface design is similar to Instagram, with the same heart, comment and share buttons, and similarly placed tabs.

Threads joins a growing list of platforms like Bluesky and Spill, as well as older competitors like Mastodon, looking to challenge Twitter’s dominance in the microblogging sphere.

Once signed in, new users who have Instagram accounts are told that their account must keep the same usernames, but can have a different bio and link to their profiles. Verified Instagram users will also take their hooks to Threads. Users can then choose to follow any account they already follow on Instagram, which includes pre-following anyone who hasn’t yet joined Threads.

In his first thread, Zuckerberg wrote “Let’s do this. Welcome to threads” with a fire emoji. It’s dated two days ago, when some big names appeared to have early access.

Others on the app from Wednesday’s launch included Jennifer Lopez and Tom Brady, as well as brands like HBO and publishers like Teen Vogue.

Accounts that users have already blocked on Instagram will also be automatically blocked on threads. Those who want to limit interactions can choose whether to allow replies from everyone, accounts they follow or mention – users they’ve tagged directly in a thread – only. They can also choose to limit mention of themselves to only accounts they follow or to deny them altogether.

Instagram’s Community Guidelines will be enforced on threads, and users can report each other for violations. As on Twitter, users can choose to hide specific words or phrases from their feeds.

Before the launch, Meta had reportedly given select creators early access to test the features and encourage people to join.

A view of Threads’ mobile interface.Meta

Currently, the app is not available in the EU.

Meta is also working to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub, a decentralized social networking protocol that is part of a new and rising movement, sometimes called Fediverse, that allows information to flow between social media platforms and other services.

“This will make Threads interoperable with other apps that also support the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress – allowing new types of connections that simply aren’t possible on most social apps today,” the company said in its blog post. “Other platforms including Tumblr have shared plans to support the ActivityPub protocol in the future.”

If the protocol is successfully implemented, those using Threads will be able to follow and be followed by users from other platforms. A user’s thread feed can then contain posts and accounts from Mastodon that the user can interact with without switching apps.

Other features in the works include instant messaging, trending topics and an “enhanced” search function.

“Threads are for public conversations,” Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said in a video announcement. “We hope to bring some of what we’ve built for photos and videos on Instagram to threads with text.”

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