Meta, the social media empire formerly known as Facebook, rolled out a new product – it’s only a mobile app at this stage – called Threads. Thirty million-odd people signed up to it in the first day, including our very own PM Anthony Albanese.

So what is Threads? Starting with the name, it was clearly chosen as a not-so-subtle dig at Twitter; Twitter threads, aka several tweets in a row, are a huge part of how users interact with it. But even beyond that, the platform visually appears to be almost identical to Twitter:

Threads, yet another Twitter clone Another Twitter clone?

Like the rest of Meta’s apps, it’s also consistent with the manta of ‘if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product’. In other words, it’s a privacy nightmare:

Threads permissions Like Mark Zuckerberg needed yet another app with which to monitor your private conversations and web browsing.

I personally haven’t downloaded it for the same reasons I haven’t downloaded Instagram (to which all Threads accounts are linked) – I’m not comfortable installing spyware on my phone, and the fact that Albo and Victoria’s Premier Dan Andrews jumped on this thing so quickly will be the stuff of nightmares for their security teams.

Albo and Andrews are on Threads Hey look, it’s the Prime Minister and Premier of our most indebted state.

But hey, competition is a good thing. Musk is so worried about Threads that he’s threatening to sue Meta for hiring a bunch of engineers he fired and using “Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property in order to accelerate the development of Meta’s competing app”. But Twitter failed to improve for years and then Musk’s takeover made it exponentially worse; if not Meta, then someone or something else would have taken it out – the tech sector is ruthlessly competitive.

So should you join Threads? It’s up to you: essentially it’s yet another Twitter alternative for people to use along with the decentralised fediverse (e.g. Mastodon) – to which Threads says it plans to join – Bluesky, a supposedly (but not yet) decentralised Twitter rival created by Jack Dorsey (Twitter’s founder) that’s still in closed beta, and of course Truth Social, Donald Trump’s clone of Mastodon (but with the federation features removed, because… well, Trump).

So if you can’t stand Elon’s Twitter, aren’t part of the alt-right and find the fediverse a bit too intimidating, then go wild – especially if you already use Instagram, because that means Meta is already milking you for its sweet, sweet advertising data. But you won’t find me on there; not until there’s a browser version I can containerise and browse with a VPN and ad blocker enabled.