Meta’s Threads app became the fastest-growing consumer application in history when it hit the 100 million user mark in the blink of an eye. Even a diehard Meta-cynic like myself couldn’t help but be impressed with the rollout. And while I was less impressed with the product — I stopped using it after a few days — I thought it was only a matter of time before Threads surpassed the user numbers of Twitter (now, of course, called X). I even wrote as much:
It’s only a matter of time before Threads is bigger than Twitter. It could even happen in the next couple of weeks. But it’s also clear this app won’t kill Twitter, not in its current copy-and-paste format.
Nearly a month on, I sit at a 50% strike rate for those predictions. Threads hasn’t leapfrogged X, but nor has it killed its rival. While Elon Musk seems to be doing his best to try (we only need to look at the spontaneous rebrand and destruction of 15 years of brand equity), it’s still alive and kicking. In reality, Thread’s growth is already stagnating, with the estimated user count currently at 122 million. Bear in mind 100 million turned up in the first week. It appears most users who were eager to switch over have done so, and now the flow is starting to trickle. That’s despite Instagram’s user base being over 1.4 billion; it only needed to convert ~20% of those users to achieve that target.
With Zuckerberg’s goal set at the seemingly impossible number of 1 billion users, this obvious tailing off spells bad news. The success of Threads depended on whether it could build on the initial hype. Every app that launches enjoys a honeymoon period but then comes the drop-off, and the hard work begins to win them back and grow. For Meta, it needed to clear X’s numbers before the slide started to give it any hope of actually replacing the platform as the main text-led social platform. Beating out Twitter would have given it leverage, authority, and bragging rights — most importantly, it would have sustained the momentum.
It hasn’t come close.
Worse, time spent on the platform is shrinking fast. That shouldn’t come as a surprise — the content on Threads is far worse than X. It might want to position itself as a “happier” place, with more…