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Threads logo: Started with a lot of pomp


In the first week after publication, Threads broke records: Instagram's short message service exceeded the threshold of 100 million users even faster than ChatGPT, and later the app is said to have reached 150 million accounts. Even experts expressed surprise at the immediate success of the service, which still lacks important features.

Now, however, the alleged Twitter killer is confronted with the pitfalls of everyday life. On Monday, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced new measures against spammers. In the course of this, Mosseri wants to set limits for the use of threads. Legitimate users were asked to come forward if they were affected by the borders.

The move drew ridicule from Twitter owner Elon Musk. He had recently introduced usage limits on his own platform, justifying this with the fact that unknown persons massively burdened the network by copying masses of posts from Twitter. Those usage restrictions are still active on Twitter, although Musk had the limits increased several times. In the meantime, Twitter has filed a lawsuit against unknown persons.

The hype is flattening out

The spam attacks on threads are clearly visible. For example, users are increasingly complaining about bot accounts that advertise gambling sites and cryptocurrency investments, for example.

Meanwhile, the initial curiosity seems to have subsided: According to web analytics data, the use of threads has declined significantly. The Sensor Tower service estimated the number of daily active users on Tuesday and Wednesday last week to be one-fifth lower than on the previous Saturday. Also, users would have spent an average of ten minutes per day only half as much time in the app.

The web analytics company Similarweb comes up with similar figures as Sensor Tower: The number of daily active users with Android smartphones has fallen by a quarter. In terms of time spent in threads, Similarweb assumes an average of eight minutes after 20 minutes previously. Many people have been interested in trying out threads – but not all of them have become a daily habit, said David Carr of Similarweb on CNBC. The figures of the market researchers are estimates based on data available to them.

Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, is spreading optimism. "The initial growth was staggering, but more importantly, tens of millions of people are now coming back every day. This is far more than we expected," the Facebook founder explained on his new platform.

Copy with gaps

Threads looks pretty similar to Twitter. In the app, you can follow other users and forward posts to your followers. However, there are also differences: In addition to messages from accounts they follow, users of threads also get "recommended content" from other profiles in their feed. The contributions are not displayed in chronological order, but are arranged by the software. First of all, there is no way to display only content from profiles that you follow.

In the European Union, you can't log in to threads for the time being – the reason is probably new EU laws. With additional blocks, Meta has now ensured that the app cannot be used in countries like Germany. Threads posts in the EU can currently only be read in a web version.

"Threads is currently unavailable in most countries in Europe and we have taken further measures to prevent people from those countries from accessing threads," a Meta spokeswoman said on Friday. In this regard, the Group referred to open legal issues.

This is likely to refer to the effects of the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA), which are intended to make it more difficult for digital companies to transfer their dominance in one market to other offerings. Threads is directly linked to Instagram. As a result, many users did not have to create a separate account to test the app, and they were able to follow accounts they follow on Instagram directly on threads. This coupling of services is also likely to be a major reason for the rapid growth in the first few days.