Light Wave


The End of Twitter

By Mara Lafontaine · July 5, 2023

In the wake of significant changes to Twitter’s user experience, Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is positioning itself as a viable alternative. This Thursday, July 6th, Meta is set to release a new stand-alone app, called Threads, that will be linked to Instagram accounts, allowing users to easily transition their username and followers to the new platform. 

“The timing is right based on what happened this weekend with frustrated Twitter users thinking about leaving for another app,” said Jasmine Enberg, an analyst and social media expert, in a recent interview with CBS News. ”Twitter users are desperate for an alternative right now. There has been so much chaos and they’re really looking for another place to go to,” she said.

Over the weekend, Twitter made a surprising move by limiting the number of tweets users could consume, causing widespread frustration. Although the limitations imposed by Twitter’s CEO, Elon Musk, might have been an attempt to curtail data scraping practices, Enberge argues the move is counterproductive for a social media platform that thrives on user engagement. “[Users] can scroll through hundreds of tweets pretty quickly. So they’re going to reach that rate limit really fast.” Enberg assessed the move as “incredibly detrimental” to Twitter as a social media platform and ad business.

Even more striking is the potential user growth for Meta’s new venture. “The reality is that Meta only needs to convert 1 in 4 Instagram users to make this app as big as Twitter is right now, ” according to Enberg. 

Meta is no stranger to emulating successful features from other social platforms, from Snapchat’s “Stories” to TikTok’s short video content. The strategy, though often criticized, has proven effective for Meta in the past. “Say what you will about Meta’s copycat behavior. They stole stories from Snapchat, but they made it much bigger and better than Snapchat had,” Enberg said. 

Enberg concluded by commenting on the implications for text-based social media, saying, “We talk so much about how, you know, the social media landscape is changing more and more towards short video. But clearly there’s still an appetite for text-based communication. I mean, the uproar among users for some of these changes that Musk had made to the platform means that they still want to communicate via text. So, you know, it’s really smart for Meta to actually try to start moving into this space.” 

Light Wave commentary

In the wake of Twitter’s controversial decisions, the release of Meta’s new text-based social media app, Threads, could significantly reshape the social media landscape, leading to a large-scale user migration. However, whether this new venture will successfully poach Twitter’s disenchanted users remains to be seen. As Enberg suggests, the results could appear almost overnight.