Instagram Threads has arrived at a time when Twitter users face controversial platform changes that may or may not cause an exodus from the 16-year-old micro-blogging site.
With Threads, Meta took aim at Twitter, hoping to leverage Instagram’s popularity to create a new destination for sharing short-form content. Just hours after launch, Threads amassed millions of followers, including verified brand accounts and an impressive number of notable figures.
While it’s obvious that Threads is still a work in progress, there are several ways in which it adapts Twitter features for Instagram users. We could even say there’s a thing or two Threads already does better than Twitter. But that doesn’t mean Threads is a Twitter replacement — there are quite a few differences between Threads and Twitter that divide the ways you’d use each platform.
Key Distinction Between Threads and Twitter You Need to Know
In terms of account management Threads and Twitter has proven quit different in several ways. We’ve whipped up a guide on how to download Threads and set up an account so that you can see what all of the hype is about, but here’s the gist: You sign into the Threads app using your Instagram credentials. Your first time logging in, you’ll be asked whether you want to import your Instagram profile details and follow the same users you follow on Instagram.
Twitter isn’t tied to another social media platform, so you sign up independently using the credentials of your choice. Due to the site’s autonomy, you can also learn how to delete your Twitter account at any time, with no consequence to other social media platforms you might use.
That’s not the case for Threads. In order to delete your Threads account, you’ll need to delete your Instagram account. Instead, you’ll want to know how to deactivate your Threads account, which will hide your profile and posts until you decide to reactivate. We hope this is something that will change down the line, because now, it almost seems like Threads holds your account hostage.
Comparing Threads and Twitter in terms of availability can be quit interesting .Twitter started as a website, back before the first iPhone ever existed. While the platform adapted to include app-based versions for iOS and Android smartphones, it maintained the website version. This gives users flexibility for where and how they want to access their account and feeds.
Threads is currently app-only, available to download from iOS and Android app stores. This makes it exclusively a mobile experience. Is that Meta’s intention? It’s hard to say at this point, but considering Instagram’s website is hardly useful all these years later, it doesn’t seem like a Threads site would be a priority.
Threads and Twitter pricing systems varies in several ways. Threads is completely free to download and use, so there are no features hidden behind a paywall. There’s no advertisements on Threads, but that will likely change. Instagram has become rather ad- and shopping-heavy, after all.
Twitter has ads, too. But there are a slew of features that are reserved for paying members of the platform’s “Twitter Blue” subscription tier. Twitter Blue costs $8/month or $84/year.
The features available to Twitter Blue users is regularly changing. As of now, subscribers have the ability to edit a tweet after sending it, customize the appearance of the Twitter app icon and, most recently, a bigger rate limit of how many Tweets you can read a day.
It will interest you to know that Threads and Twitter differs in their unique verification procedures. If you’re scrolling through your Threads feed, you’ll probably see blue checkmarks next to some account handles. These checkmarks mean the user is verified. Threads verification carries over from Instagram. So, if you’re verified on Instagram, you’ll be verified on Threads. You can check out Instagram’s guidelines to see if you qualify for verification.
Twitter’s verification system is a bit more complicated. Before Elon Musk took over the platform, the Twitter had similar verification guidelines to Instagram based on your public standing. These days, you can buy a verification badge via a Twitter Blue subscription. The only exceptions are that government accounts get a grey check, while certain established organizations and news outlets get a gold check.
The primary use of Twitter and Threads is, for all intents and purposes, the same: share short messages that other users can view and engage with. These messages can take the form of jokes, life updates, complaints, song lyrics and anything else that might be on your mind or relevant to people who follow you.
The key difference is that the Threads character limit is 500, while the Twitter character limit is just 280. This means you can share longer Threads than you can Tweets. This might not be a deal-breaker for those who have mastered the art of crafting brief messages for Twitter, though.
Multimedia posts on Threads and Twitter has some unique distinction. There are quite a few differences between the multimedia content you can post on Threads and Twitter.
You can post website links, videos and images on both. You can do post GIFs on both services as well, but you have to save the GIF to your camera roll first on Threads. That said, you can post more images and videos at once on Threads. Twitter has a limit of four items per tweet, while Threads lets you share 10 items in a single post, which is the same limit for carousel posts in the Instagram apps.
Speaking of carousels, Threads publishes groups of photos and videos in a way that lets you swipe side to side to view the collection. This feature is highly intuitive, and something we didn’t realize was missing from the Twitter experience until now which is a unique difference between Threads and Twitter.
Twitter and Threads are pretty similar in terms of engagement, too. Both have a like button, comment tool, repost and quote function, and share options.
When you click on a Tweet or Thread, it expands to show the comments. You can reply to the original message, or reply directly to another comment, depending on how you’d like to chime into the conversation.
The Activity tab of the Threads app lets you see who followed you, who liked your posts, your replies and your tags. You can also view your replies directly on your profile page, though you can’t see a running log of posts you liked.
Twitter has a similar notifications tab, plus you can see all your past likes through the dedicated Likes tab on your profile page. This is useful for, say, saving an article you want to read at a later time.
Content discovery on Threads and Twitter has proven pretty different. On Twitter you can curate your post feed rather thoroughly, controlling what it is you want to be served. You can opt to view a “For you” feed that mixes suggested posts with posts from the accounts you follow, or stick to your “Following” feed that only shows posts from accounts you follow.
On Threads, there’s a singular feed that seems to pull in a mixture of content from the accounts you follow, as well as trending posts. It reminds us of a main Instagram feed, merged with the Discover page. The only way to control what you see on Threads is to block accounts and mute words. Of course, you get both of these content controls on Twitter, too.
In terms of search, on Twitter you can look up words or phrases to see all publicly-available recent and relevant posts. On Threads, you can only search for accounts. This makes Threads less of a destination for news or trending topics than Twitter, at least for now.
The difference in messaging features between Threads and Twitter is simple: Twitter has in-app messaging, while Threads does not.
Twitter’s messaging platform lets you communicate with mutuals (or any user, depending on their privacy settings) in a few ways. You can send texts, images and GIFs, and even voice messages. Messages is a simple way to share a tweet with another user, too.
While you can share a Thread with someone via text, there’s currently no in-app option besides tagging them in the comment section of the post. If you want to reach out a Threads user, your best bet is to try their Instagram DMs.
How to download Threads and sign up for your account
If you’re already an Instagram user, then signing up for Threads is super straightforward. Just log in using your existing account credentials and all your details will transfer over. You can even opt to follow the same people on Threads that you do on Instagram. If you don’t have an Instagram account, you will need to make one first in order to sign up for Threads.
It’s also important to note that signing up for and accessing Threads currently requires a smartphone. There is no browser-based version of the site, so you must download the official app on either iOS or Android. As of yet, Meta has not announced any details of a desktop version of the site.
Even with these initial limitations, Threads is already making waves, and thanks to the backing of Meta, it’s a lot more polished out-of-the-gate than other Twitter alternatives like Bluesky or Mastodon. So, if you want to join the growing conversation, here’s everything you need to know about how to sign up for Threads.
How to sign up for Threads
- Download the Threads app
- Log in with your Instagram account
- Select Join Threads
- Enjoy Threads
Read on to see detailed instructions for each step.
1. Download the Threads app
At the time of writing, the only way to signup for Threads is via its official app. You can either search for Threads on the iOS or Android app store. Or you can visit Threads.net and scan the QR code in the bottom left corner.
2. Log in using your Instagram account
Once you’ve opened the Threads app, click the “Log in with Instagram” button at the bottom of the screen. Now enter your Instagram account details.
3. Select Join Threads
After entering your Instagram account details, you will be prompted to verify your account and then will see a splash screen that explains how Threads works. From here, press the “Join Threads” option to complete the sign-up process.
4. Enjoy Threads
You are now ready to explore all that Threads has to offer, and you can also customize your profile. This can be done independently of Instagram. For example, you can set your Threads account to public, while keeping your Instagram private, or vice versa.
And that’s everything you need to know about how you sign up for Threads. We expect the process will eventually be possible without a pre-existing Instagram account, and a proper desktop version of the social media platform may be launched in the future as well. For now though, while Threads is very much the new kid on the block, it’s already developing into a fairly interesting social network that is a great place to connect with people. And share memes, of course.
That said, if you’ve signed up for Threads and decided it’s not for you, here’s how to deactivate your Threads account.
Meanwhile, we’ve got a whole collection of handy walkthroughs to help you get the most out of our Instagram so check out our guide on how to post on Instagram. Plus, how to use Quiet Mode on Instagram and how to tell when you’re blocked on Instagram. And if you’re sticking with Twitter, we also have instructions for how to sign up for Twitter Blue.
In summary since Twitter’s biggest failure in its 17-year history stems from not doing enough to adapt and evolve its service to capture a bigger audience. Musk has promised to change that. The real question for Meta will be whether it can adapt its new service quickly enough to out-run Musk, finding new ways to engage an audience with ideas that are not a straight copy. One thing is for sure: it will not be enough to just sit by and wait for Twitter to implode.
Hope you find this article about key distinction between Threads and Twitter helpful.