Within the first few hours after its launch, more than 10 million individuals signed up for Threads, Meta’s rival to Twitter, according to the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The app went online on Apple and Android app stores in 100 countries on Wednesday at 2300 GMT and will run without adverts for the time being, although its rollout in Europe has been delayed due to data protection concerns.

Threads is the most serious competitor to Elon Musk’s Twitter, which has seen a slew of prospective rivals emerge but has yet to replace one of the world’s largest social media sites, despite its troubles.

“10 million sign-ups in seven hours,” Zuckerberg tweeted on Thursday from his official Threads account.

Accounts for celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and Hugh Jackman, as well as media organisations such as The Washington Post and The Economist, were already active.

Zuckerberg also fired a shot across Musk’s bow; the two are known to be ardent rivals and have volunteered to grapple in a cage fight.

In his first tweet in nearly a decade, Zuckerberg posted a Spiderman pointing at Spiderman parody, a clear reference to the similarities between Threads and Spiderman.

“It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it,” he wrote on Threads. Twitter has had the opportunity to do so, but has failed to do so. We’re hoping so.”

Twitter claims to have over 200 million daily users.

Threads was released as an obvious spin-off of Instagram, which has a built-in audience of more than two billion users, avoiding the problem of beginning from zero for the new platform.

Threads, according to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, is meant to create “an open and friendly platform for conversations.”

“The best thing you can do if you want that, too, is to be kind,” he advised.

Zuckerberg is widely believed to be exploiting Musk’s tumultuous ownership of Twitter in order to launch the new product, which Meta hopes will become the go-to platform for celebrities, businesses, and politicians.

“It’s as simple as that: if an Instagram user with a large number of followers, such as a Kardashian, Bieber, or Messi, begins posting on Threads regularly, a new platform could quickly thrive,” strategic financial analyst Brian Wieser remarked on Substack.

Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Engberg stated that Threads just needs one out of every four Instagram monthly users “to make it as big as Twitter.”

“Twitter users are desperate for an alternative, and Musk has given Zuckerberg an opening,” she continued.

Under Musk, content monitoring has been reduced to a bare minimum, with faults and impulsive judgments driving away celebrities and major advertisers.

He has enraged Twitter’s most ardent fans by saying that access to its TweetDeck product, which allows users to view a fast stream of tweets at once, would be restricted to paying subscribers exclusively.

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