Just over two weeks after Twitter caught the wrath of the Internet for limiting the number of posts subscribers could view, Meta’s Threads is imposing a similar limit of its own.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced the limits on the Twitter alternative Monday, writing “spam attacks have picked up so we’re going to have to get tighter on things like rate limits, which is going to mean more unintentionally limiting active people (false positives). If you get caught up [in] those protections let us know.”
Responses to Mosseri’s messages on the platform have been significantly more kind than the response Elon Musk faced when announcing Twitter’s viewing restrictions, with many users actually thanking him for taking action against bots and spam. The positive reception could also have been due partially to Meta’s offer to work with legitimate users so their experience is not negatively impacted.
The irony, of course, is that Threads sudden success came, in part, as a result of the backlash against Twitter for limiting post views. The site signed up 100 million users in just five days.
Twitter’s limits were only in place for a few days, for Verified users, at least. Threads has not given any window into how long it plans to keep the limitations in place, nor what the limit number would be. (Meta declined to provide any further comment to Fast Company beyond Mosseri’s post.)
Musk, as one might expect, did not resist the chance to mock Threads for the decision.
Meta has been bullish on Threads’ sign-up success, with Mosseri noting four days ago that “growth, retention, and engagement are all way ahead of where I expected us to be at this point.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg echoed that on Monday, adding, “the focus for the rest of the year is improving the basics and retention. It’ll take time to stabilize, but once we nail that then we’ll focus on growing the community.”
That might not be a bad idea, as a recent study from SimilarWeb found that the number of daily active users on Threads dropped from 49 million to 23.6 million in just one week, a drop-off of more than 50%.
“In the race to replace Twitter, Threads is off to a strong start but still has a long way to go toward winning the enduring loyalty of those who partake in a social network dominated by text posts and linked articles,” the data analysis site wrote. “Despite attracting far broader attention than Twitter alternatives like the open source Mastodon or the still beta Bluesky, the Threads spin-off from Meta’s Instagram business unit does not yet have customers coming back regularly.”
Olivia Moore, consumer partner at venture capital firm a16z, has theories on why Threads engagement is falling off—and it has nothing to do with bots. Many people, she writes, don’t want friends and family reading their Tweets. Also, “Twitter is fueled by anonymous memers, shitposters, fan accounts, parodies,” she notes. “These people don’t want their posts associated with their IG! Making a finsta is an option, but feels like unnecessary work and creates the vibe that anon accounts aren’t welcome.”
Threads, of course, has other problems beyond bots and thread limits. The site is still mobile only and does not limit the main feed to people you know, which can be overwhelming for users. Other popular features, such as hashtags and trending topics, are also still missing from the platform.