Meta Launches Threads. Should You Join?

In recent years, Facebook has rebranded its parent company as Meta, while investing heavily in its Metaverse initiative. So far, this has been a failure with Meta losing $13.72 billion on R&D in 2022. Yes, billion with a b.

The company’s new pivot is to go for low hanging fruit in the form of its new Twitter clone, Threads. Threads launched at the start of July 2023 and passed 30 million users in the first 24 hours. Due to Threads’ integration with Instagram, users had an immediate contact base from day one by transferring over their existing Instagram account contacts who had also immediately joined Threads.

What happened to Twitter?

Twitter is well known as a cesspool of low quality political ranting, virtue signaling and home of debates between many of our planet’s lowest IQs: all in 280 characters or less. It’s also a popular platform for keeping up to date with breaking news and articles from respected authors.

Twitter has experienced a series of reputation-damaging, high-level scandals over the last few years: from Russian bots impacting the 2016 election, censoring news during the 2020 election and, most recently, controversy surrounding Elon Musk’s ownership of the platform.

Musk has also recently been engaging in verbal fisticuffs with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg with regards to setting up a cage fighting match at the Roman Colosseum.

It’s in this context that Meta has launched Threads in an attempt to capitalize on the declining popularity of Twitter by basically copying their platform like-for-like; an act which has led to threats of legal action from Twitter.

Can we trust Threads?

Threads allows posts of up to 500 characters and can include links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length. In all likelihood, it’ll end up very similar to Twitter in its user base and function: a fast moving town square full of sound and fury and signifying very little.

So what’s the issue? Just pick your preferred poison and tweet (or thread) away.

Well, Facebook/Meta has a very, very, very murky history with privacy and user data. From the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal to Russian election interference and the April 2021 leak  when personal data pertaining to 533 million Facebook users was made public on an online forum.

As a result of all this bad publicity, the platform has made many attempts to cleanse its public image from sending Mark Zuckerberg to attempt to act human before congress to rebranding the parent company as Meta. Perhaps most importantly has been the removal of many of the platforms target advertising demographics.

Facebook has (or had) the most advanced advertising targeting in human history, allowing businesses to target ads based on location, age and various personal interests. These interests previously included many that would allow anyone to identify an individual’s political allegiances, such as being a fan of Fox News, CNN, The Washington Post or The Daily Mail. These targeting options made it very easy to create political echo chambers filled with virulent rhetoric and were fundamental in the elections of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as Brexit in the UK.

As the adage goes: if you are getting something for free, then you are actually the product. In the case of Facebook, users make money for the platform by accepting advertisements. This advertising model is the primary method by which Facebook has made its money, with $26.8 billion dollars of revenue generated in 2016 alone.

However, in 2022, Facebook’s revenue dropped for the first time. This drop can be attributed to their removal of ad targeting options, as well as changes in Apple and Google’s data privacy policies limiting the range of Facebook’s adverts further.

Given that Meta owns the Oculus virtual reality headset, their thinking was to change the game by moving people away from Apple and Google operating system products and into the Metaverse. This time with Meta owning the hardware and having no third party restrictions; thus, enabling unlimited ad targeting opportunities.

The complete failure of the Metaverse project thus far has forced a rethink at Meta HQ. And that brings us back to Threads.

Given that Twitter has been home to the most divisive and idiotic culture war content on the internet, there’s a pretty good chance Threads will end up going in the same direction. While this may be annoying for the average user, it’s a golden opportunity for Meta to gather more proprietary data on political allegiances just in time for the 2024 elections in the USA.

Should my business join Threads?

When it comes to social media strategies for businesses, then you need to be where your audience is. If your business is already having great success on Twitter, then go ahead and switch over. Your existing strategy is probably easily transferable.

The fact that Instagram is also integrated with Threads means the same thing. Generally, B2C businesses do better than B2B businesses on Instagram, so there’s no harm in extending your successful Instagram account to a new Threads account.

However, if your business has so far failed to gain traction on Twitter, then don’t waste your time. For most B2B businesses, LinkedIn management is probably a better use of resources, given the nature of that platform; and especially its favorable approach to executive branding.

I recently wrote about LinkedIn’s algorithm changes which came into effect in July 2023, which will cement the platform’s status as the social media channel for business and thought leadership.

By all means test Threads for your business, but if you are in the B2B sector and don’t yet have a successful LinkedIn strategy then my recommendation is to spend time figuring that out first.

And, as always, if you need some help, I know a great social media agency in Bangkok that you can rely on.

About the Author

David Norcross is an award-winning LinkedIn marketing & Executive Branding expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry and over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn. He’s the founder and CEO of Lexicon as well as the Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand Marketing & Communications Committee.

Lexicon is an award-winning brand storytelling agency focusing on telling impactful stories for clients based in Thailand and South East Asia.


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