Aiming to compete more fiercely in the social media domain, Instagram Threads, under the umbrella of Meta, has rolled out support for polls and GIFs. This comes in the wake of other new functionalities such as a web version, profile switching, full-text search, voice posts, and many others. Meta's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, during an investor call, hinted at Threads potentially becoming the company's next billion-user platform.
However, considering Threads currently boasts nearly 100 million monthly users, such projections seem ambitious. Another platform, X, maintains its grasp on its core U.S. user base and even showcases increased time spent by daily active users, albeit seeing a decline in other areas, as some reports suggest.
Threads is diligently working to match features available on other platforms like X, which has witnessed heightened user engagement through polls. Polls have particularly resonated with users, offering a quick and informal way for users to express their opinions, whether on significant subjects or everyday dilemmas. Elon Musk, owner of X, often resorts to polls to gauge public sentiment on company decisions. In Threads, polls will remain active for a day, and creators can customize the audience allowed to participate.
Moreover, the appeal of GIFs endures, even though younger users sometimes regard them as dated. Interestingly, Meta had procured the GIF search engine, Giphy, in 2020 for $400 million, but had to part ways with it following antitrust concerns raised by U.K. authorities. Giphy now powers the GIF feature on Threads, post its acquisition by Shutterstock at a valuation of $53 million.
These new additions aim to bolster Threads' position in comparison to X and also give it a leg-up against emerging competitors like startup Bluesky. Threads has yet to match X’s reputation as a go-to source for real-time news and trend discovery. Although Instagram's head, Adam Mosseri, expressed that Threads wouldn't emphasize news, the platform has been caught in the act of developing a Trending Topics function, closely mirroring X's offerings.
While Threads is making strides by emulating certain features from X, the road ahead demands more than just cloning functionalities to truly stand out as a formidable X adversary.