This is interesting timing, considering the current restrictions on viewing tweets.

Yesterday, with no warning, Meta’s new Twitter-esque message board app – which is seemingly going to be called ‘Threads’ – appeared in the Google Play Store in some regions.

Instagram Threads screenshots

I personally don’t understand how ‘Threads’ is the name that it’s going with, given that Meta already launched and shuttered a separate messaging app called Threads back in 2021. Seems potentially cursed – but Meta looks to be going with it anyway.

As you can see in these promo shots, shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Meta’s new ‘Threads’ app will enable users to port their IG username over to the new, conversation-based platform, which essentially opens up DM chats on a more public basis.

So like Twitter, but with an IG Direct tilt.

As per the Play Store description of the app:

“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.”

So, yeah, that’s a pretty concise description of Twitter, which is how Meta’s pitching its new app.

Meta’s been working on its text-based platform for some time, with first reports emerging back in April that it was exploring a ‘decentralized social network for sharing text updates’.

The decentralization element now seems to be a lesser consideration, with Meta instead focused on using the scale of Instagram as a springboard to build a viable Twitter alternative, and a home for the many cast-offs who are unhappy with Elon Musk’s changes at the app.

Which, as noted, could be about to reach a new peak, with Twitter implementing new limits on how many tweets people can view, in an effort to combat data scrapers.

If Twitter users following a trending topic – like, say, the war in Ukraine, or NBA free agency – are now being impacted by these new limits, they could indeed be increasingly keen for a new conversational home – though the new app is seemingly not actually available, with the Play Store listing only showing up in very few regions at this stage (you can check out for yourself it’s active in your region at this link).

So why has it suddenly appeared, with little fanfare, and on a long weekend of all times?

It could be a glitch, a mistake at the Play Store end in making it viewable too early, or it could be a limited test by Meta, as it moves to the next stage.

Either way, it does now seem like a new tweet alternative is very close.

Which could be a new battleground for Twitter and Meta, both literally and figuratively, with Twitter owner Elon Musk and Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg reportedly set to engage in a cage match, which was sparked by early discussion of Meta’s rival app.

That fight could reportedly be hosted at the Colosseum in Rome, with reports suggesting that the Italian Government has inquired about hosting the bout. Italy’s Ministry of Culture has denied this – but the fight itself could actually be going ahead, with the two mega billionaires set to engage in a physical fight to prove… something.

Which may be just window dressing, a publicity stunt, as Meta seeks to drink Twitter’s milkshake.

And with the broader shift towards DM chats, as opposed to feed posting, maybe now is the right time for the new iteration of Threads – though again, I remain concerned that launching a new app of the same name is a doomed strategic blunder from the beginning.