Instagram appears to be gearing up for the release of its much-anticipated Twitter-like app, “Threads,” which has been sighted on the European Google Play app store. This new development comes after months of rumors and speculation about Instagram’s entry into the microblogging sphere.
Over the weekend, the app, known as “Threads,” was discovered on the Google Play app store, as reported by various users and confirmed by Italian mobile developer Alessandro Paluzzi. The listing was visible only in specific European countries, including Italy, France, Spain, and Germany.
According to the app description on Google Play, “Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow. Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things — or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions, and creativity with the world.”
The interface and functionality of “Threads” seemingly bear a striking resemblance to Twitter, leading to speculation that Instagram, owned by Meta Platforms Inc., aims to rival the popular microblogging platform. Leaked screenshots of the product and details of internal discussions were previously reported by The Verge in June.
The new app has reportedly been in development since January and will integrate a decentralized protocol, much like Twitter competitors Bluesky and Mastodon.
In an attempt to entice an early user base to the new platform, Instagram is said to be courting celebrities like Oprah and various influencers. In a teaser for the app during a Broadcast Channel collaborative session in May, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg questioned Instagram head Adam Mosseri about “top-secret text apps” that could be in the works.
It’s worth noting that this new Threads app is not the same as the previous app of the same name that Instagram launched in 2019 as a messaging tool, which was discontinued in 2021.
Although Instagram has previously launched standalone apps, such as IGTV, former Instagram product manager Eric Wei pointed out in a recent interview that these attempts haven’t typically been successful. Nevertheless, given Twitter’s current transitional phase, Wei sees a clear opportunity for Instagram and Meta with Threads.
“It’s a better idea than a lot of other things that have come out of Meta recently,” said Daniel Morgan, a senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust.
Instagram’s move to launch Threads comes against the backdrop of ongoing issues at Twitter, particularly after Elon Musk’s takeover. In March, Meta confirmed that it was developing its own Twitter-like social network, following reports of project “P92,” a decentralized platform.
This initiative comes in the wake of Twitter’s recent workforce reduction by nearly three-quarters to less than 2,000 people, leading to numerous technical issues. Musk also reported a significant decline in Twitter’s advertising, attributing the drop to “political” reasons.
As Twitter grapples with these challenges, Instagram’s Threads could seize the opportunity to establish a strong presence in the microblogging space. However, Instagram did not respond to requests for comment regarding Threads’ appearance on the Google Play app store.