July 13, 2023


“Celebrities, lawmakers, brands and everyday social media users are flocking to Meta’s freshly minted app Threads to connect with their followers… Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in a Threads post Monday that in the five days since its launch, 100 million people have signed up for Threads, which was rolled out as a companion app to Instagram.” AP News

Both sides are critical of Meta's data mining practices and skeptical that Threads will overtake Twitter over the long term:

Predictions of the death of Twitter are as old as the platform itself. In 2010, the mighty Google launched Buzz. For two frothy weeks, a few people spent all their time Buzzing each other, before they buzzed off. As tech’s political axis shifted, it was Gab that became the first ‘true free speech’ jailbreak in 2016… At the height of the backlash against Donald Trump in the mid-2020s Parler briefly became a thing. It was last seen being ‘bought’ by Kanye West…

“The Threads world’s first wave has been full of content that revolves around people ostentatiously stretching their wings, claiming they’ve never been happier than to be in the hands of a different tech oligarch, who would never try and manipulate them, or flog their data… Novelty feels exciting. A new social media platform comes with that terra nullis feeling. But, sure as night follows day, that feeling fades.”
Gavin Haynes, Spectator World

"Zuckerberg's latest offering may have a $0 price tag but it comes with a steep buy-in. It'll cost you more of your digital privacy than many other text-based social apps, it tries to control your experience by feeding you only from the slop-trough of an algorithm, and it could end up killing your account on a different social platform if you're not careful…

“The last thing I intend to give my digital body is yet another udder that Meta can suckle in its insatiable thirst for user data. The app sucks down a sweeping 14 categories of data once installed, including personally identifiable details…

"Twitter became culturally important because of its usefulness to a few groups of users for whom timely dispatches are critical: protesters and journalists breaking news of real-time events, government emergency services providing real-time safety broadcasts, and users who connected in real-time about their favorite arts and entertainment events as they happened. With Threads, you're hostage to whatever digital slop the algorithm dishes out. There's no option for chronological order and no way to avoid seeing posts from people you don't follow. How delightfully tone-deaf and controlling.”
Rae Hodge, Salon

“Users downloading Threads should be clear-eyed about what they’re signing up for. To the extent that Twitter was ever successful, it wasn’t in a monetary sense. At its peak, it was a powerful megaphone (and echo chamber) for opinion leaders, media figures, and the online Left. If it was designed to harvest data for financial gain—and the Twitter Files give no real indication that this was its primary objective—it was curiously inept at it…

“By contrast, Threads may prove to be the worst of both worlds: a platform that carries over the censorship, viewpoint discrimination, and ‘community guidelines’ of the old Twitter regime, combined with the much broader user base it inherits from the Meta legacy platforms, which can be more readily mined for economic advantage.”
Richard J. Shinder, City Journal

“Threads will need to convince a critical mass of users that it’s not just trustworthy, but relevant. The magic of Twitter was that it’s a place where world leaders with immense power, snarky writers, A-list celebrities, and everyday very online users could all be in conversation with each other about the news of the day. For Threads to get that same effect, it will need those culture starters who can make compelling short, 500-character posts.”
Shirin Ghaffary, Vox

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

"The entire spectacle obfuscates what’s really going on. A 39-year-old mega-billionaire who was once among the world’s foremost villains of industry—and who is sitting atop a flailing, expensive metaverse pivot—has leveraged the radicalization and impetuousness of the world’s richest man to once again copy a successful idea from a smaller competitor and juice it up overnight into a competitive business…

It’s easy enough to get roped into the royal-rumble shenanigans, just as it’s easy enough to use a Meta product to spite Musk for destroying the platform you used to like. But Zuck or Musk? is a false binary. It’s reminiscent of the effort to romanticize the George W. Bush presidency during the roiling chaos of the Trump administration. The self-immolation of one billionaire’s image is not reason to reappraise another’s. It is, however, an indicator of just how far the bar has been lowered when it comes to evaluating the men who lead Silicon Valley.”

Charlie Warzel, The Atlantic

From the Right

“Chaya Raichik, who mocks the Left on multiple platforms under the name ‘Libs of TikTok,’ joined Threads and wrote, ‘Non-binary isn’t real,’ in a post. That’s it. No call for violence, no harassment of a specific person, not even an angry tone, just a simple sentence rejecting the idea of someone being neither male nor female. That was enough for Threads to take down her post over its ‘hate speech’ policies…

“Threads has already slapped other conservative figures’ accounts with a warning label asking users if they are ‘sure’ they want to follow someone who ‘has repeatedly posted false information.’… Zuckerberg has failed to learn the lesson Musk tried to teach the tech market by making Twitter more free-speech-friendly. People who are tired of the censorship will simply stick with Twitter, as Raichik said she would do. When such alternatives exist, censorship is a liability to a platform's success.”

Hudson Crozier, Washington Examiner

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