As Twitter flounders, rivals Mastodon and Bluesky flourish, and Meta launches Threads on Thursday

Threads by Instagram

The rocky journey for Twitter continues under Elon Musk, with this weekend seeing bizarre constraints introduced in an attempt to reduce unspecified "data scraping". Users of the service found themselves hit with rate limit warnings as Twitter placed restrictions on the number of tweets that can be viewed each day.

Rival Mastodon has already seen a steady influx of Twitter escapees, and this continued over the weekend with a 300,000 jump in the number of active users; Bluesky is also faring well, to the point that sign-ups have been paused to allow for tweaks and fixes to be implemented to accommodate the levels of interest. But now eyes are turning towards Meta, as the Facebook owner prepares for the launch this Thursday of its own Twitter alternative, Threads by Instagram.

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An entry for Threads appeared a little earlier than intended in the App Store for iOS, with data suggesting that the official launch is due on Thursday, July 6. Referred to variously as "Threads", "Threads by Instagram", and "Threads, an Instagram app", there is also a listing for an Android version of the app.

Meta introduced the app saying: "Say more with Threads -- Instagram's text-based conversation app".

Screenshots in Google Play give a sneak preview of how the app looks:

Threads by Instagram

The listing for Threads in Google Play has the following description:

Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow. Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things -- or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.

The website for the app has also been unearthed at, and this is where the cosmic (and interactive) image at the top of this post comes from.

Coming from such a tech giant as Meta, and having strong links to the outrageously popular Instagram -- including the option to quickly port a follow list -- Threads will undoubtedly get off to a very strong start from the moment it launches.

But whether this popularity sticks remains to be seen. As Mastodon has proved, strong levels of interest can be difficult to maintain. While this particular Twitter rival is currently enjoying a resurgence -- and did do after various controversial Musk changes -- there has not been steady and sustained growth. The same can be said of Bluesky, but the private beta, invite-only nature of the platform makes it hard to make comparisons.

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