After launching with the bare minimum features, Meta’s Threads is finally adding some of the most requested features. The Twitter clone will now have a following feed as well as translation that presents the post in the user’s language of preference.
Threads Responds to User Demands
After a record-breaking launch, users realized that Threads lacked so many functionalities that were viewed as basic on many other platforms, especially on Twitter. Since then, users have been requesting many features including a following feed, a translator, and a better search feature with the ability to search for posts and not just followers.
On one thread post where a user was requesting a following feed, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO, responded by saying “Ask and you shall receive.” The company has kept its promise and is rolling out a feed that shows content from people that users follow.
The Following feed is an option next to the current For You feed. The latter entails content that is algorithmically sorted by the app according to the user’s preferences and behavior on the app. It is the feed that users have been interacting with since the app launched.
The Following feed will show content with the latest at the top and older posts lower as users scroll. Despite the demand for this feature, the app reverts back to the For You feed every time a user opens the app. This makes it seem like the default page.
The same was confirmed by a Meta spokesperson, Seine Kim, who told the Verge that,” For You is the default experience when you open the Threads app.” This makes it different from Twitter which presents the latest content first, keeping users up to date with posts.
However, keeping users up to date is not a priority for Threads. According to Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s CEO, the app is not meant for news or politics. Notably, the app has merged two features from two different apps. The Following Feed is native to Twitter whereas the For You feature is well known as TikTok’s default.
The app will be receiving the ability to translate posts for users, as is the case with Twitter. Users will also be able to sort their Activity Feed based on new categories that come with the update. Therefore, it will now be possible to filter by Follows, Quotes, and Reposts.
A new Follow button will also be added to allow users to easily follow back the people on their followers’ list, similar to how they do on Instagram.
This batch of updates also includes the choice for private users to batch “approve all” follow requests as well as the capability for users to see posts they’ve liked in their settings.
The rollout of the new features has not been as seamless as expected. The main feature, Following Feed, has been noted to have a bug that causes it to only load a couple of posts. The feature also has an issue updating the posts according to complaints from users on Threads.
Cameron Roth, a Threads iOS developer, responded to the complaints noting the company was looking into the bug. “We’re looking into it. Seems we have created a lot of sudden demand for some reason…,” he said.
The new changes closely follow another set of updates that were released last week. The features included the ability to subscribe and receive notifications from accounts a user does not follow.
A “+” button was also added to enable users to follow new accounts from the replies on a post. Other minor improvements were also made in addition to a few bug fixes.
One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure
These new updates follow a slow period for the recently launched app. After receiving 30 million users in 24 hours and a whopping 115 million in a week, the app has suffered a massive decline in engagement.
According to statistics by SimilarWeb, on its best day, July 7, Threads had more than 49 million daily active users on Android. A week later, the platform’s active users were down by more than 50% to 23.6 million users.
The company also saw a massive decline in activity time. On July 7, users in the US spent about 21 minutes on the platform. By July 14, the activity time had gone down to a mere 6 minutes.
Therefore, by adding these highly requested features and improving user experience, the app is looking to turn its incredible download figures into active users.
“I’m very optimistic about how the Threads community is coming together,” Zuckerberg said in a post on Threads last week. “Early growth was off the charts, but more importantly 10s of millions of people now come back daily … The focus for the rest of the year is improving the basics and retention.”
The platform is also capitalizing on the ongoing chaos at its rival, Twitter. The app has been having trouble maintaining its users due to the drastic changes Elon Musk had been implementing since he acquired the app.
Musk has made yet another drastic change by rebranding the app from Twitter to X. The app’s famous blue bird logo has since been replaced with an X and a black background. The change is a step to realizing Musk’s vision of making the app an everything app as is the case with China’s WeChat.
In the process, Twitter risks losing users who prefer the classic Twitter with verified accounts, credible information, and a business feel. Meta on the other hand is slowly pushing Threads to fill that space offering what Twitter is shedding off.
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