With Twitter going down like a sinking ship, many social media users are looking for an alternative. But those turning to Threads may want to look elsewhere.
On Wednesday, Facebook and Instagram's parent company Meta finally launched "Threads," their alternative to Twitter. According to owner Mark Zuckerberg, the app received over 30 million downloads in just its first 24 hours.
The creation of Threads was announced almost directly after Elon Musk became Twitter's new owner in a not-so-subtle move by Meta to move in on the app's audience. Many users have sought to jump ship under Musk's rule, which has allowed hate speech and misinformation have run rampant on the platform.
While it doesn't have the same content moderation problems as Musk's Twitter — and users aren't charged monthly fees in order to view posts — there are still a few features that keep Threads from becoming the social media safe haven people are seeking.
1. You can't delete your account
One of the biggest flaws with the platform, which users have been quick to call attention to online, is the inability to delete your Threads account. While it is technically possible to do so, it cannot be done without also deleting your existing Instagram account.
But wait, can't you just not connect your Instagram account to your Threads profile? Nope. As of right now, only Instagram users are permitted to sign up for the app, making it feel more like a hostage situation than a social media platform.
2. There's no chronological timeline
As of now, there is no option to set your timeline to see posts in a chronological order. Sure, you can follow accounts and see what they post — you'll just also be bombarded with posts from other users you don't follow based on what the algorithm determines for you.
You'll also see ads. Lots of ads. So many ads, you'll wonder if not having the chronological option is just a way for the platform to show you as many ads as possible while you continuously scroll.
(Hint: it is.)
3. Everyone wants to sell you something
Speaking of ads...
While Threads saw a huge influx of users in its first couple of days, the majority of the large accounts active there now are either corporations, brands, or influencers. Despite marketing the platform as a community forum, it is incredibly difficult to have conversations with friends and other users.
4. The interface is ugly as sin
Part of what makes communication difficult is the fact that the entire platform runs like the Instagram comments section, but blown up in size to mimic tweets and their replies.
Apart from the design somehow being both overcrowded and underwhelming, the features of the website seem to combine the worst parts of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter alike to create a forum that may just be the first liminal space to exist online.
5. No nudity allowed
This may have been a given, as Instagram and Facebook also prohibit sexually explicit content, but Threads is certainly no exception. In fact, typically anything seen as sexually explicit is often removed from Meta's platforms, not just nudity.
This moderation is also usually not done by a person, but rather an algorithm, meaning even harmless content can be flagged. Right now, it's unclear how Threads is currently being moderated.
This may not bode well for LGBTQ+ users. While Tumblr's decision to ban sexually explicit content infamously tanked the website's value, it was also found to disproportionately impact LGBTQ+ people, whose content was and is often wrongly flagged as explicit simply for being queer-adjacent.
6. Social media monopoly?
Terrible as it may be, Twitter is one of the few companies still competing with Meta, and their platforms Facebook and Instagram. Do we really want Zuckerberg to have control of not just two, but possibly three of the biggest public forums?
That's a lot of power, and while Zuckerberg hasn't been as openly conservative or as hostile as Musk, he hasn't always been the greatest businessman or political advocate. With even more under his control, there will be little holding the platforms accountable, and little reason for the company to hold itself accountable.
Right now, the only selling point of Threads seems to be that it doesn't have Elon Musk. But hey, that's a pretty big sell.