Meta Platforms META -0.65%decrease; red down pointing triangle plans to launch a web version of microblogging app Threads early this week, the biggest new feature to be introduced on its competitor to Elon Musk’s X.
The desktop version would address one of the biggest of a long wish list of features users have sought for Threads. The text-first social-media app appeared on track to be a smash hit out of the gate when Meta launched a bare-bones version in early July, but use of it has plunged in recent weeks.
Users have been able to see specific Threads posts on the web but their access is limited, as the app is mostly geared for mobile phones.
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said on Friday on his Instagram profile, that the web version of Threads would be launching soon and is already being tested internally at Meta. People familiar with Meta’s plans said it will launch early this week, although the launch plans aren’t final and could change.
“It’s a little bit buggy right now, you don’t want it just yet,” Mosseri said. “As soon as it is ready we will share it with everybody else.”
Meta rushed to launch Threads to take advantage of the growing interest for an alternative to X, formerly known as Twitter. Threads became the fastest app to reach 100 million downloads, hitting the mark in five days.
Facebook parent company Meta has launched Threads, a stand-alone microblogging app that rivals Elon Musk’s Twitter. Within seven hours of its launch, the app gained 10 million sign-ups, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Yui Mok/Zuma Press
Despite the early success, the usage of the app quickly fell off, with many users citing notable missing features, including a full web version of the service.
Meta has rolled out a handful of other new features in recent weeks, including the ability to set post notifications for accounts and view posts in a type of chronological feed.
Threads on Thursday began showing labels for state-controlled media outlets, about three weeks after The Wall Street Journal reported that state-backed media accounts had hundreds of thousands of followers on the service and were posting propaganda, such as a fake video purporting to show President Biden in a store perusing books on dementia.
Time spent on the Threads app is down about 85% more than a month after its launch, according to new data from SimilarWeb, a digital data and analytics firm. At its peak, Threads had nearly 50 million daily active users worldwide a few days after launching. That number has since dropped to less than 10 million, the firm said Sunday.
X Corp., the renamed Twitter, draws approximately 363.7 million monthly active users, according to Insider Intelligence. X claimed 237.8 million daily active users in July 2022, when it reported its last quarterly earnings as a public company.
A web version of Threads would be useful for Meta in terms of promoting the service across the internet, several social-media experts said.
“A web-based version of Threads would be a significant advantage for Meta in its ongoing rivalry with X. It would give the company a wider reach, more features, and better data collection capabilities,” said Sam Saliba, a longtime Silicon Valley tech executive who was previously global brand marketing lead at Instagram and still maintains ties to people at Meta.
Besides a web version of Threads, Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg posted on Threads earlier this month that the company is planning to launch an improved search feature for the microblogging app “in the next few weeks.” Currently, Threads users are able to search for others’ profiles but they can’t search for posts using keywords.
Mosseri reiterated that point on Friday, saying that Instagram isn’t working on building a hashtag feature for Threads because they are focused instead on search.
“We’re much more focused on the web, on search, which I think can meet a lot of the needs of hashtags,” Mosseri said.
Jeff Horwitz contributed to this article.