Twitter vs. Threads by Instagram: What Are the Differences

Twitter announced a cap on the number of Tweets you could see in a day. This led to widespread outrage unlike any previous one. Meta thought this the perfect moment to launch Threads – their Twitter which was in the making for the last few months. Well, if you thought the boxing match between Zuck and Musk was the battle to watch, here’s one if you can’t wait: Twitter vs. Threads by Instagram.

Within the first four hours of the release, Threads saw five million users register on the platform. Thanks to the ease of the sign-up process, the Threads account is tied to your Instagram account, and the information is shared instantly. On Twitter, we’re seeing a few people mock Threads for a half-baked Twitter clone, and some are calling it the end of Twitter.

So, is Musk’s Twitter reign going to be short-lived? Is it Meta’s time to shine? Or is Threads all about the hype and buzz? Well, time will tell the answers to these. But what we can tell you is how Threads is different from Twitter and an unbiased comparison between the two. Let’s begin.

What Is Threads by Instagram

Simply put, Threads is a microblogging platform similar to Twitter. Tweets are called Threads, and Re-Tweet is called Repost. You can try hard to describe it without references to Twitter – but it was built with the sole intention of competing with it and is by no means a unique social media product.

You can use Threads if you have an Instagram account. All your information and credentials can be easily transferred, and you can follow everyone you know on Instagram with a single tap. You can write Threads, post photos and videos, and interact with all your followers. It is a text-centric platform that will co-exist with Instagram.

Tip: To learn more, check our guide on What Is Instagram Threads and How to Use It

Meta also announced that Threads would be compatible with open social networks built on Activity Pub, like Mastodon, as it plans to integrate it into the fediverse.

Threads is a solid attempt to take on Twitter. Meta has leveraged its experience in building social media products, plus its existing distribution of over a billion users, and the result is a decent application. We still have the first public version of the app, and there’s a lot to improve and look forward to.

But how does it hold up against Twitter? Let’s find out!

1. Threads vs. Twitter: User Interface

The app interface on Threads looks clean, with a dark background and white and grey text in the foreground. However, good design isn’t just about aesthetics – the UI seems overwhelming.

The action buttons could do better with more spacing, as we often pressed the wrong button. There is a lot going on in a single thread. Further, there’s no light mode. This is where Twitter gets the advantage. Obviously, after years of experience in designing a microblogging platform.

Twitter is a better app to use. However, Meta’s Threads performs better than Twitter’s. The interface seems snappy, and we did not find any choppy frame drops while scrolling, unlike Twitter.

2. Twitter vs. Threads: App Layout and Features

Threads has five tabs – the home tab shows you the main content, the search tab, the post tab, the activity tab (where you can find all your replies, mentions, and other notifications), and the profile tab.

The home tab mostly shows you all the Threads, including the accounts you don’t follow – and it can fill up with a lot of unwanted content. The search tab shows you profiles you can follow. Instead, the search tab could have an Explore section similar to Instagram, showing content from accounts you don’t follow. The home tab could show the content from accounts you follow.

Twitter gets the advantage here, as it has a separate tab called ‘For You’ and ‘Following’. Twitter also has additional Spaces, Community, and Direct Messaging features which Trends does not have. Yes – Threads by Instagram does not have a direct messaging feature. Threads does not feature any Trends either because it does not support hashtags yet.

Spaces and Search
Left: Spaces on Twitter | Right: Search and Trending on Twitter

Another complaint with Threads is that you do not have a separate button on your Profile to check who you follow. You have a button to check your followers, which then shows you a button to check your following.

We aren’t sure what the design process was, either. However, there’s a separate tab to view your Threads and Replies under your profile, and we appreciate that.

3. Differences in Content Features, Rules, and Character Limit

Here’s where Threads hits Twitter where it hurts – Twitter has a 280-character limit for the free version, and Twitter Blue subscription gets you up to 25,000 character limit. Threads has a 500-character limit to post content. Of course, there’s no rate limit on Threads, and you can view as much content as you want.

However, Twitter does not seem to have a limit to uploading videos. We recently even saw Apple upload a series premiere for free on a single Tweet. However, Threads has a five-minute limit for videos.

Threads has the option to mute and hide words from your feed, like Twitter. You can also hide and block accounts on Threads as well. Further, you can also hide the like count on your Threads, like posts on Instagram. This is a feature that Twitter misses out on.

Content Restrictions
Left: Twitter | Right: Threads

You can edit Tweets on the Twitter Blue subscription, but you cannot edit Threads. There is no paid version that lets you do it as well. Twitter Blue can also help you format text, which is not possible on Threads. However, you can delete individual Threads, but not your Threads account. You need to also delete your Instagram account with it.

You can also make your profile private on Threads like Twitter and Instagram. However, Threads missed out on the sensitive content filter similar to Twitter.

4. Sharing Features on Threads and Twitter

You can share links for Threads and cross-post them with ease on Instagram. This is an advantage you have on Threads. However, you do not have a direct messaging feature on Threads, unlike Twitter. You also can’t share hashtags on Threads.

Sharing Features
Left: Threads | Right: Twitter

As Retweets is to Twitter, Repost is to Threads. Both essentially share the same function – to share content from different accounts on your feed. You can also easily share links to content to other social media apps on both Twitter and Threads.

However, we noticed that you can only upload GIFs on Instagram from your local storage, but not directly from keyboard search. But we’re sure this will be fixed in a future update.

5. Threads vs. Twitter: Verification

The coveted blue tick recently became a paid feature, which could be availed by anyone with Twitter Blue, losing its exclusivity. Meta followed the same and started a paid subscription program for verification. Doing this will get you the verification on Threads, with a separate tab to view notifications from verified accounts. However, you do not get any additional features on Threads as Twitter Blue does.

6. Advertisements

As of now, we do not see any advertisements on Threads. We’re sure they will start popping up in the next few days, and it is unlikely we’ll have the option to block or reduce them. With Twitter Blue, you can reduce ads by up to 50%.

7. Privacy

Meta’s weak link has always been privacy – no surprise that Zuckerburg faced the heat during the launch of Threads. It is not available in the EU since it allows data and credential transfer from another app (Instagram) which is not legal in the EU. Moreover, a simple comparison between the App Store information tells you that Threads accesses more elements on your phone than Twitter.

Privacy Features
Left: Twitter | Right: Threads

Further, Twitter also has more privacy features, especially when it comes to content blocking and restrictions.

If you have two-factor authentication on Instagram, you can securely log in to Threads as well. Twitter also has two-factor authentication, but an SMS-based 2FA is only possible in the paid version of Twitter Blue.

8. Compatibility

While Twitter has Android and iPhone apps, it also has web compatibility. Hence, you can use Twitter on any device. However, as of now, Threads only has iOS and Android apps. You cannot use Threads on a web browser. However, we believe the web app will soon be available.

There you go – that was the very first comparison between Threads and Twitter. If you have any further questions, move to the FAQ section below.

FAQs on Instagram Threads

1. Is Threads by Instagram free to use?

Yes. Threads by Instagram is free to use on iPhone and Android. There is no paid subscription as of now.

2. Can you post reels on Threads?

You can post any video up to five minutes on Threads.

3. Can you create reels on Threads?

No. You cannot create reels on Threads.

4. Does Threads have NSFW content?

No. Threads does not permit NSFW content.

5. Does Threads have stories and highlights?

No. Threads does not have stories and highlights.

Should You Move to Threads by Instagram

We’d say it is too early to move to Threads from Twitter. Instead, we suggest using both of these apps. That’s because a large section of the Instagram audience is also now available on Threads, and you wouldn’t want to lose out on your Twitter audience either.

Threads has a long way to compete with Twitter as a microblogging platform. If Elon Musk’s takeover did not garner a lot of criticism, and if all the restrictive features and Twitter Blue was not present, would Meta even have any chance? We’ll let you answer that in the comments section below!

Last updated on 07 July, 2023

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