We tested Threads, Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘Twitter’ that has just arrived in Spain against Elon Musk’s X

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After breaking the link with Instagram, Meta has launched its microblog network in Europe with which it wants to be the alternative to X.

Social networks have been evolving since the beginning of this century, when the main ones, Facebook and Twitter, became extremely popular. Then more have come, and Even messaging applications have tried to become pseudo social networks. Even Google Maps has done it, successfully.

The last to join the list of options has been Threads, Meta’s commitment to rival services like X (formerly Twitter) or Mastodon. This platform was presented in 2019, but was relaunched at the beginning of summer worldwide, and shortly after it was blocked in Spain and the rest of the European Union countries due to regulatory issues.

The community government did not look favorably on the very strong integration between Instagram and Threads, and until Meta has solved that, among other things, it has not given the green light to the launch. Despite that, The success of the application has been enormous, reaching 100 million users in a few days. Now, after certain changes, the service returns to Europe, and media such as EL ESPAƑOL have already opened their official profiles there.

Despite not being two identical networks, there are similarities and differences, Threads and X fight for the same type of content: short texts and added multimedia content. They don’t focus on long videos, like YouTube, or short vertical ones, like Tik Tok. Even so, the type of profile used by one network and another is not the same.

With and without profile

One of the requirements that the European Commission imposed on Meta in order to launch Threads in the region is that the link with Instagram was not so aggressive. At its launch, if the account of the new social network was linked to that of Instagram, the Threads profile could not be deleted without also deleting the Instagram one.

Threads without profile

Currently the download can be done from the Google Play Store, although it still does not appear for some people. In that case you can choose to download it from alternative stores. In any case, when installed, gives the option of being used with or without a profile.

If you choose to use without a profile, what you will see is a randomly generated timeline in which content from users highlighted by the platform itself is read, for now mostly in English. You also access a search engine where you can filter the content, but you cannot follow anyone in this mode. Obviously you will not be able to publish, respond or like the publications.

Threads with profile

To do everything it is mandatory have a profile and, at the time of its launch in Europe, it is mandatory to use an Instagram one, which can be any of those connected to the mobile application. You can also create a new one that is independent of Instagram, but you cannot use the same nickname, of course.

Write… and edit for free

One of the most important requests that Twitter has been asked almost since its inception, it was the option to edit posts. This was more a matter of grammar than evasion of statements, but the social network, now X, has only implemented it in paid profiles.

Threads in Europe

Threads allows you to post text, photos and videos, but alsoedit these posts, as you can do in the Instagram Feed. Of course, only five minutes but for free, to correct a specific error, not edit a publication weeks after its creation. Another novelty is the Inclusion of a chronological feed in which you can only see people you follow. Of course, you have to click on the house icon, in the lower left corner, to show those two columns. And do it with the latest version of the application installed, otherwise it will not work.

Among the limitations is only being able to use a tag, something that limits the reach of the posts but perhaps that is its purpose. It’s easy to remember the time on Twitter when there were too many hashtags, something that also happens on Instagram. In fact, in Threads tags can be entire sentencesand even contain special characters.

Beware of Fake News

A mistake that Threads does not want to make is promoting misinformation. This has been the workhorse of social networks in recent years, and something that became clear was a danger with the cases of Facebook and Cambridge Analytics. Besides, On Twitter it is easy to see clearly false content being shared ad nauseumeven within the app’s own ads.

Adam Mosseri, current head of Instagram and Threads, has already confirmed that Threads “will match fact-checking scores from Facebook or Instagram to Threads.” In addition, the person in charge has advanced that the users themselves will be able to filter the type of content that appears in their timelines, being able to the most dubious publications are not shown to you.

Less politics, more famous

Being strongly linked to Instagram, The user profile, and of influential characters on Threads, is different from that seen on other social networks. Actors, comedians or presenters from the United States have strongly embraced this new proposal, partly tired of the toxicity of X.

This, however, will change as the social network becomes larger and begins to gain traction. Surely Mark Zuckerberg’s intention is not to limit himself to being a copy of Instagram but in text, but achieve what Twitter has not achieved in terms of number of users, and also become that influential.

No advertising

One of the things that stands out the most about Threads is its interface, extremely clean and with great emphasis on content. Besides, This platform does not yet have paid services or ads. It is possible that in the future I will have one or both, but today the experience of using Threads is very different compared to that of X.

Elon Musk’s social network problem it’s not so much the ads (there are also them on Instagram, for example) as their quality. Many of them have community notes because they are scam attempts, others use famous people without their consent to get clicks, etc.

Threads on two phones

Obviously it is assumed that at some point Meta will want to monetize Threads, but for now it is able to inject enough money so that it does not have to cloud the experience and, when the ads come, let’s hope that it is normal companies that want to appear, and not pseudo scams.

Also on the web

One of the taken-for-granted functions of social networks is that they can be used on computers through a web version. Threads has its own too, and uses an extremely clean interface. At the top is the sections bar, with the timeline in the main part, look for as a second option, then the icon for write a post and then the one from heart, which is where the notifications are. The last one is the profile.

Threads profile on the web

On the right side there is an icon with three lines of different sizes that would be the equivalent of the Settings gear. There you can toggle between light and dark mode, enter settings, or log out.

Future evolution

One of the biggest differences between Threads and X, according to Mark Zuckerberg himself, is that they were willing to open up to other platforms. With the inclusion of the ActivityPub protocol, it would be possible to follow Threads profiles on platforms like Mastodon, something that would represent a before and after in how social networks are managed and understood.

Mastodon on Android

At the moment this is something in development, but nor is it known when it will be possible to follow Threads users on Mastodon or vice versa. Despite this, Meta’s policy change in this regard could, in the long term, change the way users understand social networks.

Privacy

Meta is not known for being the most careful company with its users’ data, but in Europe this is something important. Within the application we have privacy options that allow make profile privateso that only certain people can see what is published, as well as limit the type of people who can respond to a profile.

You can also hide certain words, so as not to read about topics that are not pleasant or boring. Besides, it is possible to block whoever you chooseas is done on other social networks.

Finally, It is possible to close your Thread account temporarily or permanently. The latter will no longer imply deleting the Instagram accountsomething that caused a lot of controversy at the launch of the social network a few months ago and that was not well regarded in Europe.

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise