We've known for quite a while that Meta has been building a Twitter competitor, but now we have a more solid idea of when it will become available. A listing for the app called Threads has popped up in the iOS App Store with an estimated release date of July 6th. In May, a report came out saying that the microblogging service was nearing completion and could be out as soon as the end of June. While an end-of-June launch didn't quite happen, the app could be arriving at a time when Twitter users are more willing (and maybe even eager) to try an alternative.
Twitter recently put a cap on how many tweets an unverified account can read per day. In a post, Elon Musk announced that verified accounts — which translates to paying users — can read 6,000 posts a day, while unverified/nonpaying users can only read 600. He said the website is adopting the measure to "address extreme levels of data scraping [and] system manipulation." A regular user can easily hit 600 posts, so people who haven't been paying $8 to $11 a month for blue checkmark have been getting locked out of their feeds as a result.
Meta describes Threads as "Instagram's text-based conversation app." Based on the screenshots posted in the listing, users can keep their Instagram handle and follow the same accounts they follow on the photo-sharing platform. That means users will have a pre-existing following and circles on the new app, giving it an edge over other Twitter rivals. Users will also be able to choose the privacy of their posts and make them visible to anyone, to the profiles they follow or only to the accounts they mention. They will be able to heart, send and share other people's posts, as well.
Previous reports said Meta's Twitter competitor would be a decentralized service that's compatible with Mastodon, but it's unclear if that's still the case when it launches. We'll know for sure within a few days.