Facebook parent Meta publishes threads for Twitter competitor. Although the application is not available in the EU due to “resolved regulatory issues”, you can still use it with a simple trick. However, it’s hardly worth it so far, Meta still has a lot to do.
The timing of Mark Zuckerberg’s meta-corporation to launch Threads could not have been better. After all, more and more Twitter users are looking almost desperately for an alternative after Elon Musk hassled them with more and more restrictions and changes.
So it’s no surprise that Threads has already gained 10 million users in the first seven hours, according to Zuckerberg. And this despite the fact that the Twitter alternative is not available in the EU for the time being due to Meta’s problems with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Officially, because with a simple trick you can still register.
In the EU initially only usable via detours
It is especially easy for Android users. All you have to do is use a VPN service to redirect your internet traffic through a country where Threads is officially available. Then download and install the app as an APK from a trusted platform. You can then log in with your Instagram account like other users worldwide.
Danger: Installing apps from alternative sources is risky. If you don’t know exactly what to do, you should wait until the official Threads launch in the EU.
iPhone users can already use threads in this country, but have to set up an account in the USA or another compatible country and switch their devices accordingly. Only then can they install the application from the Apple Store. Desktop versions do not exist yet.
German version already ready
Although Meta is currently avoiding the EU, it is obviously already prepared to start there. The app, including help and small print, is available completely in German, among other things. After installing the application and logging in, you no longer need a VPN connection.
As promised by Zuckerberg, Threads is straightforward. However, this is only partly due to the thoroughly successful, clearly designed user interface. Mainly Threads is easy to use because it doesn’t offer many options so far.
Closely linked to Instagram
Practically – and Thread’s great advantage over other alternatives – is that you can take or keep your followers from Instagram. The two meta-platforms are and will remain closely connected. This also applies to the exchange of data, which the European Court of Justice recently declared illegal without the separate consent of the user.
You hardly ever see posts from the people you follow. Because all users are currently cavorting in the timeline and you scroll through a lot of irrelevant or at least unwanted posts. Above all, you can see many accounts with a blue tick, since verified and apparently preferred Instagram participants are also automatically selected for threads.
Lots of characters but few options
In principle, it is possible to post text of up to 500 characters, videos of up to five minutes, photos and links. GIFs cannot currently be inserted. To follow an account, tap on its logo, the plus sign attached to it will then disappear.
Posts can be liked, commented on, reposted, quoted or shared. Users can be muted, blocked or reported, and individual posts can be hidden. You will also receive the usual notifications, for example if your own post has been commented on or shared.
There are hardly any settings to personalize the unit timeline a little more. You can’t limit them to users you follow or to a topic. Hashtags, lists? none. The search only finds accounts.
After all: With notifications you have almost as many options as with Twitter. Good: Not only can you specify who can reply to your own post, you can also hide the number of likes. The “liked” posts are not displayed in the profile, you can only see replies.
True, the threads settings are linked to those of Instagram. However, changes such as limiting posts to posts from followed accounts have not yet taken effect. This could change when the country restriction is lifted.
Threads could prevail
Mastodon can do much more than threads and is also not a data octopus. But the decentralized approach seems to be too complicated for many users. In any case, horns have not even remotely replaced tweeting. Mastodon and threads could also complement each other in the future. Because Meta plans to make the network compatible with the ActivePub open standard, which would make the platforms interoperable. Threads would then be part of the so-called Fediverse.
All in all, Threads is still a long way from being a real Twitter alternative. Meta apparently took the opportunity and released a very early, stripped down version. Above all, the imposed blue tick timeline is annoying, but there are also a number of other settings missing to personalize threads or even turn them into research tools.
However, there is no reason to assume that Meta cannot and will not add the missing elements. Also, every Instagram user is a potential Threads user. And if Meta gives them what they want, Zuckerberg’s network has a very good chance of replacing Twitter – no matter what legitimate concerns Facebook & Co. have. In return, the group will probably swallow the bitter GDPR pill and grudgingly adhere to EU rules.