Science & Tech

What is Threads, Instagram's 'text-based' alternative to Twitter - and how can I 'pre-order' it?

What is Threads, Instagram's 'text-based' alternative to Twitter - and how can I 'pre-order' it?

Meta to launch Twitter rival called Threads

Twitter has been having quite the time lately, what with Elon Musk’s platform implementing a temporary limit on the amount of tweets accounts can view in a day, blocking tweet views from individuals not signed in, restricting access to Tweetdeck to ‘verified’ users, and continuing to suffer technical difficulties.

The latest round of issues has prompted users to flock to rival platform Bluesky, and now Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta wants in on the action.

Titled Threads, the “text-based conversation app” from Instagram is due to be released on the App Store on Thursday.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, then that’s because Threads was previously announced in late 2019 as a way to “stay connected to your close friends”, before it was shut down by the company at the end of 2021.

The description for the revived app on Apple’s App Store reads: “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 favourite 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.”

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Screenshots of the app provided on the page show a layout not too dissimilar from Twitter, with users having the option to like, comment, repost or send a post in a direct message.

Replies can also be adjusted to allow anyone to respond to a post, only profiles you follow, or those which have been mentioned in the text.

Unlike apps such as Mastodon, Post and Bluesky, it appears as though users will also have the option to follow the same accounts they follow on Instagram, as opposed to building up a following list from scratch.

And there’s a very cool easter egg to ‘pre-order’ the app in advance

While there’s still a little while to wait before it lands on our smartphones, Instagram has a sneaky way of ‘pre-ordering’ the app on the App Store ahead of its release.

To be clear, the app is free and we do not know if this works on Android (we suspect not, seeing as the Google Play store page for Threads only shows the option to add it to your wishlist, and shows the Android button greyed out as “coming soon”), but if you type ‘thread’ or ‘threads’ into the search bar on Instagram on an iPhone, then provided your app is on the latest version, you should be able to see a ticket emoji appear.

It will also appear when typing in ‘p92’, ‘1992’ and ‘saymore’.

After tapping on the ticket, a rotating card will appear showing the Threads logo on one side and the date and time of Thursday 6 July, 3pm (BST) on the other. A countdown towards this moment can also be seen at the top of the display.

At the bottom of the screen, there is the option to ‘get Threads’, which takes users to the App Store to ‘pre-order’ the app, meaning it will be automatically downloaded when it is released later this week.

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