The 100 Million People Who Signed Up For Threads Have Already Stopped Using It, Reports Say

Meta’s new Twitter competitor, Threads, wants to keep users engaged, especially since more than half of the initial sign-ups have stopped actively using the app. According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company is exploring ways to address this challenge.

Threads launched on July 5 and quickly gained popularity with over 100 million users in under five days, largely due to user frustration with Elon Musk-owned Twitter.

“Obviously, if you have more than 100 million people sign up, ideally it would be awesome if all of them or even half of them stuck around. We’re not there yet,” Zuckerberg told employees yesterday, according to Reuters, which listened to audio of the event.

However, third-party data indicates that Threads may have experienced a significant drop in active users. On Android, daily active users decreased from 49 million on July 7 to 23.6 million on July 14, and then further to 12.6 million on July 23, as reported by web analytics company SimilarWeb.

“We don’t yet have daily numbers for iOS, but we suspect the boom-and-bust pattern is similar,” SimilarWeb wrote. “Threads took off like a rocket, with its close linkage to Instagram as the booster. However, the developers of Threads will need to fill in missing features and add some new and unique ones if they want to make checking the app a daily habit for users.”

“Zuckerberg said he considered the drop-off ‘normal’ and expected retention to grow as the company adds more features to the app, including a desktop version and search functionality,” Reuters wrote.

Despite this decline, Zuckerberg told employees in a company town hall that user retention was actually better than expected by Meta executives. Chief Product Officer Chris Cox also shared potential strategies to improve retention, such as integrating Threads with the Instagram app, allowing Instagram users to access important Threads content.

When contacted by Ars today, a Meta spokesperson pointed to Zuckerberg’s comments from Wednesday’s earnings call. Zuckerberg said:

    “On Threads, briefly, I’m quite optimistic about our trajectory. We saw unprecedented growth out of the gate and more importantly we’re seeing more people coming back daily than I’d expected. And now, we’re focused on retention and improving the basics. And then after that, we’ll focus on growing the community to the scale we think is possible. Only after that will we work on monetization. We’ve run this playbook many times before—with Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Stories, Reels, and more—and this is as good of a start as we could have hoped for, so I’m really happy with the path we’re on here.”

Zuckerberg also told investors that “Threads has been dramatically more than we expected in terms of the adoption and the rate of that… we had a small team working on [it] for a while, but it really kind of blew up and created a big opportunity immediately.”

Zuckerberg said “there’s still a lot of basic functionality to build” for Threads and talked briefly about the challenge of attracting users to new standalone apps. “We’ve tried a bunch of standalone experiences over time, and in general, we haven’t had a lot of success with building kind of standalone apps,” he said.

Threads could succeed in part because of user backlash to Musk’s changes at Twitter, now officially called “X,” Zuckerberg seemed to suggest. “It could just be that this is such an idiosyncratic case because of all of the factors that are happening around Twitter or X, I guess, it’s called now,” he said.

Threads is currently available in approximately 100 countries, including the US and UK, but it has not launched in the European Union due to concerns about compliance with EU regulations. The app has faced criticism related to privacy concerns, as it collects a significant amount of personal data from users.

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