Threads by Instagram: 5 Things to Know Before Signing Up

Threads By Instagram What To Know Before You Sign Up Featured

Whether you just love new social media networks, you're looking for a Twitter alternative, or you're simply just curious, there are some things you should know before signing up for Threads by Instagram. With over 30 million sign-ups in the first 24 hours, this fast growing social network is worth at least looking at.

Security note: whenever you sign up for an account on a social network, you should enable two factor authentication to secure your login.

Why would so many people sign up in less than 24 hours? First of all, it's backed by Meta, the parent company of social network giants Facebook and Instagram. Plus, all you need is an Instagram account and poof, you're ready to sign up for Threads.

Threads By Instagram What To Know Before You Sign Up Popular
Image source: Unsplash

There's also the uproar of many of the changes Elon Musk has made as the owner of Twitter. This has led to many users seeking viable Twitter alternatives with large user bases. Having Threads by Instagram come out on the heels of Musk announcing temporary tweet viewing limits has created the perfect storm for Threads to hit big, at least for now.

2. What is Instagram Threads?

Threads is tied to your Instagram account. Think of it as the text-based version of Instagram. While one is focused on videos and photos, Threads is all about text, which is similar to Twitter and also the earlier days of Facebook when most users just created text-based updates.

Threads By Instagram What To Know Before You Sign Up What
Image source: Threads

Naturally, this is a major Twitter competitor. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, admitted to The Verge that the social media app was created to go head to head with Twitter.

As far as the basics, this is what Instagram's Threads offers:

  • Each post can have up to 500 characters
  • Share links
  • Share photos
  • Share videos up to five minutes long
  • Repost from other Threads accounts
  • Reply to other posts

Right now, you won't find any paid tiers or be bombarded by ads, though monetization is in the works. As a bonus, you're able to carry over all your connections from Instagram, though some users may not be on Threads yet or ever.

3. What You Can and Can't Do

No social media network or app is perfect and Threads by Instagram still has a long way to go to make users happy.

Threads By Instagram What To Know Before You Sign Up Search

A few of the main complaints users already have include:

  • No home feed to see the people you're following - It's a mix of what you follow and what the Threads algorithm thinks you might want to see. The more you use the app, the more it should cater to your interests. The goal is to help you find more people to follow.
  • No DM support - Currently, you can't directly message someone.
  • No customizable home feed - Though Twitter and even Instagram have ways to create lists to make customizable feeds, Threads doesn't support this.
  • No edit option - While you can delete posts, you can't edit posts.
  • No hashtags - If you've come to rely on hashtags, Threads may take some getting used to. To keep conversations from being filled with hashtags, the app took these out to make posts easier to read.
  • No inline translation - If you need something translated, you'll need to copy and paste it into your favorite translation tool.
  • You must have an Instagram account - While the tie-in makes sense to help people quickly build up followings, some users aren't interested in having to create an Instagram account to use Threads. There are ways to view Instagram, Facebook, and more without having an account.
  • You can't delete just your Threads account - If you hate Threads, but still love Instagram, you can't delete just Threads. While you can deactivate it, the only way to delete it is to delete your entire Instagram account.
  • No web support - A web-based version is supposedly in the works, but for now, you'll need the Threads by Instagram app to access the network.
  • No search option for topics - Unlike Instagram, you can't search for topics or hashtags, only user accounts.
Threads By Instagram What To Know Before You Sign Up Account

On the other hand, you get some pretty nice features, such as:

  • Longer posts than free Twitter accounts (up to 500 characters)
  • Set your account to public or private
  • Control who sees your posts, photos, and videos
  • View as much as you want without paying for verified status
  • Carry over your verified status from Instagram
  • Share up to 10 photos per post

4. Is It Safe to Use?

Let's be honest. Meta has a horrible reputation when it comes to user privacy. In fact, the app's available in over 100 countries, but the EU isn't allowing it currently due to regulatory concerns.

Threads By Instagram What To Know Before You Sign Up Privacy
Image source: App Store

When you look at the list of data collected, it kind of sounds like you're handing over your entire life history. The app may collect your location, personal details (browsing history, financial transactions, religious and political views, health info (from health apps), calendar details, texts, other app activity, and more. Granted, many Internet giants notoriously collect everything they can about you, such as Google and even Amazon. So, this isn't a surprise coming from Meta.

5. Is This a Viable Twitter Alternative?

Yes and no. Right now, Threads by Instagram is shiny and new. Plus, it's trendy to hate on Twitter with all the chaos going on.

However, despite having no ads right now, Threads will likely have ads in the near future. So, your feeds will start to look more like Instagram and even Twitter, filled with ads and promoted/sponsored posts.

Threads By Instagram What To Know Before You Sign Up Compete
Image source: Unsplash

The lack of a web-based interface, direct messages, and hashtags and/or a topic search still gives Twitter a slight advantage over Threads.

On the other hand, allowing users to view as much as they want and use up to 500 characters in a single post without having to pay $8/month may encourage free Twitter users to switch to Threads.

There are two main things to consider before you decide to switch:

  1. Are most of your followers and those you follow currently on Threads?
  2. Do you want an Instagram account?

Right now, there's no reason not to check it out, but I personally wouldn't drop Twitter just yet if you enjoy the platform.

Alternatively, if you are unhappy with all the privacy issues, you can check out these decentralized and blockchain based social networks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Threads add any new features based on user requests?

Yes. This is just the first publicly released version. Right now, a web-based interface and changes to the home feed are planned. Though, no release date has been set.

Will Threads remain free?

Monetization will be a necessity as Threads grows, but this will most likely come in the form of ads and promoting your own account as a brand or influencer. But, that's just speculation. However, consider that Instagram verification is still free, unlike Twitter.

Will Threads integrate with Mastodon?

There are plans for Instagram Threads to work alongside ActivityPub, this may or may not pan out. ActivityPub is the decentralized network operated by Mastodon, which is a popular Twitter alternative. However, if this integration happened, it could help set Threads apart from some of the competition.

Image credit: App Store app preview, Screenshots by Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder
Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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