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What is Threads? What to know about Meta’s new app challenging Twitter

The new app launches July 6.
/ Source: TODAY

Threads, from Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, will be the latest social media app to challenge Twitter.

Threads is a new text-based social media platform that's scheduled to launch July 6, according to Apple's app store, where it's currently listed.

Threads launches as more users seek alternatives to the Elon Musk-owned platform that's undergone considerable changes since he bought it last year, including staff layoffs, temporary limits on how many tweets can be viewed, and paid subscriptions for verification. In response to Musk and these decisions, some people have stopped using the platform.

Here's what to expect ahead of the release of Threads.

What is Threads?

"Say more with Threads — Instagram’s text-based conversation app," the description of the app reads in Apple's app store.

"Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow. Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things — or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world."

How do you download the Threads app?

Threads is scheduled to be available for download from the Apple app store July 6, according to a listing in the app store. It is also listed in the Google Play store.

How do you create a Threads account?

Threads' listing in the app store shows potential users can use their existing Instagram account to log in to Threads. It does not indicate another way to create an account.

Can Threads actually compete with Twitter?

Other Twitter competitors that have already launched, such as Bluesky, Mastadon and Spill, have struggled to become equals to, let alone surpass, Twitter as the go-to app for text-based conversations or live updates on current events.

But those startup companies did not have the parent company that Threads does. Meta's existing users across its platforms are expected to jump-start Thread's user base, said Joanna Stern, a CNBC tech contributor who appeared on TODAY July 5.

"There have been other competitors that have popped up to try to take on Twitter since Elon Musk’s acquisition, and they’ve struggled, they’ve struggled with the mainstream popularity," she said. "Meta is the biggest social media company in the world. They can take this to their users, their existing user base and leverage that."

Tying new Threads accounts to Instagram directly connects the platforms' user bases. Instagram has 2 billion users worldwide, compared to Twitter's 300 million.

Stern said Threads comes at a prime time in which it can challenge Twitter.

"Elon Musk has left an opening in the social media landscape," she said, "and I also think, especially as we head into the election, where Twitter is such a mouthpiece for people in politics, and leaders in all types of industries.

"With users unhappy with Twitter, there is an opening, and Meta, Mark Zuckerberg always likes an opening."