Why Threads Is Already in Trouble

User engagement is way down, and a lack of features may be to blame

The Threads application logo is seen on a mobile device in this photo illustration on 19 July, 2023.
Are people already tiring of Threads?
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The average time spent and user engagement on Meta’s new social media platform Threads has fallen from 21 to six minutes, according to recent data analysis (as reported by Tech.co). After a surprisingly hyper-successful launch, including 100 million downloads in its first five days, the novelty of Meta’s Twitter-like app seems to have worn off. Yours truly suggested that it lacked a couple of key features from Twitter, including an ability to group accounts by lists.

“It’s clear by the drop-off that people are seeing they can’t do as much, and there are certain things that they want to be able to do that perhaps they can do on other apps,” Richard Hanna, a professor at Babson College who studies social-media strategy and digital marketing, told The Wall Street Journal.

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Initial quotes by Meta’s brain trust suggest the company isn’t too worried. “Our focus right now is not engagement, which has been amazing, but getting past the initial peak and trough we see with every new product,” says Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram.

Threads user engagement issues

9to5Mac has done a good job breaking down why users are already frustrated with Threads, including the lack of a chronological feed, the lack of active users, an emphasis on brands with accounts and a technical issue with a recent iOS update that actually would have solved some of those issues. Still, the app is only a few weeks old and has a giant tech company behind it. And updates are coming: a “Following” feed seems imminent, and Mosseri has said that the ability to edit posts and a chronological feed are on the way.

“I’m very optimistic about how the Threads community is coming together,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Threads a few days back. “Early growth was off the charts, but more importantly 10s of millions of people now come back daily. That’s way ahead of what we expected. 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. We’ve run this playbook many times (FB, IG, Stories, Reels, etc) and I’m confident Threads is on a good path too.”

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