parallax background

Threads Celebrates its First Birthday

Thursday 11th July

Blog Author Beth Perrin by Beth Perrin

Can you believe it’s already been a year since Threads arrived on the social media scene? That’s right - Meta’s X rival was released on 5th July 2023, initially being described as “a new app, built by the Instagram team, for sharing text updates and joining public conversations”. At the time, many people were on the lookout for an alternative to the platform that was then still known as Twitter, following Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover in 2022 that had left many users dissatisfied due to the various changes he and his new team implemented. Threads made an immediate splash, reaching 100 million users in its first 4.5 days - faster than any app in history, and overtaking the previous record set by ChatGPT.

So, one year on, how is Threads doing? Has it managed to maintain its momentum or has its popularity and relevance decreased since its launch? With Mark Zuckerberg hoping that it will be the next social media platform to achieve 1 billion users, let’s take a look at its success so far and predict what the future may hold for the app.


Post by @threads
View on Threads


Threads Feature Timeline

Threads’ development team have been exceptionally busy over the past year, with new features being introduced to the platform every month since its conception. Let’s take a look at some of the major updates that have been implemented following its initial release.

August 2023:

The desktop version of the site launched.

Keyword search began testing in Australia and New Zealand.

The ability to add custom alt text to images was introduced.

September 2023:

The keyword search tool was expanded to more regions, including Argentina, India, Mexico, the UK and the US.

October 2023:

The highly-requested edit button arrived.

The ability to create audio messages called Voice Threads was introduced.

Suggested Threads began appearing on Instagram and Facebook.

Users began being able to add GIFs and polls to their Threads.

November 2023:

The Keyword Search tool was expanded to all regions.

New data insights arrived, including the ability to see a full listing of all the users who have liked, quote-shared or reposted a post.

December 2023:

Following months of delays due to privacy and data regulations, Threads launched in the EU.

The ability to tag a topic in posts was rolled out globally, meaning users could categorise their posts and make it easier for others to find and join in on the conversation.

February 2024:

Another highly requested feature arrived - the ability to add your favourite Threads to a ‘Saved posts’ list.

March 2024:

The ability to create draft posts was released, allowing selected users to save their unposted Threads for later use.

April 2024:

Business Insider reported that Meta had begun trialling a ‘Threads Bonus program’, whereby eligible creators would be able to earn money from their content based on the performance of their posts, or the number of posts shared.

May 2024:

The desktop site was given a refresh, making it look more like Tweetdeck and providing more customisation and monitoring options.

June 2024:

The API was made available to all developers, enabling creators to schedule posts, manage replies and more via third party apps like Sprout Social.

A new side-swiping element was added to posts that people can use to indicate whether they’re interested in that type of content or not.


Can Threads Really Compete with X?

Just a few days ago on 3rd July, Mark Zuckerbeg confirmed that Threads is now up to 175 million users. In comparison, X has 250 million - although it’s been stuck at this number since November 2022. Threads technically can’t be considered a genuine rival for X until it reaches this number, and even though it’s still rising, its growth momentum has slowed considerably. Initially it was gaining 7.5 million new users per month, but this has now declined to 5 million (based on the most recent 3 month period). This means its growth rate has dipped by more than 30% - so while it is growing, it’s not grabbing people’s attention as rapidly as it was at the start.

Threads may also need to add more features if it really wants to compete, as X definitely offers a wider range of tools at the moment. However, for those users who preferred the simplicity of the old Twitter, Threads’ straightforward style might be its main selling point. It all comes down to what kind of experience each individual user is looking to have on social media.


Will News & Politics Become More Prominent on Threads?

Something that many users - especially journalists - have been wary about since Threads’ launch, is its cautious approach to news and political content. On its release day, Meta explained: “We built Threads with tools to enable positive, productive conversations”, with Instagram chief Adam Mosseri also adding that: “The goal is to create a public square for communities on Instagram that are interested in a less angry place for conversations. Politics and hard news are inevitably going to show up on Threads but we’re not going to do anything to encourage those verticals.”

Mosseri was asked about the topic again in a recent interview with Platformer. In response, he confirmed that: “Politics are on Threads, and they will always be. We will not get between people and political content that they follow just because it’s political. It would be great to go to Threads and see what’s happening during the NBA finals, during the Super Bowl, during the Met Gala if you’re into fashion, during the Grammys, or the Emmys - so we do need to be a place for news. I just don’t think that it’s our place to be showing you political takes from people you don’t follow.”


Will Threads Always be Linked to Instagram?

Ever since its launch, Threads has been connected to Instagram - you sign in with the same account, you can automatically follow the same people, and Threads content is shown on Instagram. However, in the aforementioned interview, Adam Mosseri stated that he hopes that it will become more independent over time, and confirmed that the team is currently working on tools like Threads-only accounts and data separation.

DMs on Threads are also linked to Instagram. When you tap or click on the ‘Message’ button below a user’s bio, you can type out a message which will then be sent to the recipient’s Instagram inbox instead of an internal one. It’s unlikely that this will change, with Mosseri concretely confirming back in November: “We’re not building DMs into Threads.”


What’s Next for Threads?

Threads’ algorithm is one of Mosseri’s main focuses for the coming weeks and months. “We have to really improve the ranking of posts in the feed. We need to get better at understanding your interests, and we need to do better at adapting as your interests change. Another key focus is [to] double down on one of our differentiators, which is just to be a less angry space. [This involves] basic content moderation [and] controlling who can reply, controlling who can quote, hidden words [etc].”

The platform’s recently released side-swiping element will also aid with this. Users can now swipe right on a post to indicate that they want to see more of that type of content, or left to signal that they’re not interested. This means users will now have a direct way to control the Threads algorithm and improve the recommendations they’re shown in the app, making their feed much more personalised and tailored to their preferences.

Mosseri also stated that he wants to see more comedy on the platform, noting that funny content performs well on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube, and that he would like to see this replicated on Threads.

Additionally, hashtags on the platform may receive an overhaul soon, with some users now seeing a prompt within the post composer reminding them to add one to their Threads. Up until now, the “#” symbol hasn’t actually been used on Threads, with topic tags simply appearing as normal text - but the new prompt tells people to use the symbol, which indicates that it may be on its way to the platform.



Threads’ first year has flown by, and there’s no denying the impressiveness of its rapid growth. While it may not have overtaken X in terms of its user base just yet, it certainly provides a great alternative for those who want to try a new app and move away from the platform formerly known as Twitter - whether that’s individual users, famous figures or brands. We’re excited to see how Threads develops in the future and we’ll be keeping tabs on all of its latest features, so don’t forget to check out our monthly social media update blog posts to stay in the loop.

To wrap up, here’s what Adam Mosseri hopes to achieve with Threads: “I want to build the best platform for sharing ideas online. That means getting bigger than Twitter or X. That will take some time, but I will consider it a failure if we don’t get there.”