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More than 70 million people have signed up to Threads, Meta’s rival to Twitter, within the first two days of its launch, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Friday.

The number is likely to grow quickly as more Instagram users and social media fans open accounts on Threads, according to CBS News.

The app is the biggest challenger yet to Elon Musk-owned Twitter, which has seen a series of potential competitors emerge but not yet replace one of social media’s most iconic companies, despite its epic struggles.

“70 million sign ups on Threads as of this morning. Way beyond our expectations.” Zuckerberg wrote on Threads at noon Eastern time on Friday.

The app went live on Apple and Android app stores in 100 countries at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday and won’t have ads for now. 

Threads had been slated for release at 10 a.m. Eastern Time Thursday but the company on Wednesday pushed forward its release to that evening.

Celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and Hugh Jackman as well as media outlets including The Washington Post and The Economist, as well as CBS News, the parent of CBS MoneyWatch, joined the service, with many racking up hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of users. Zuckerberg had 2.2 million followers as of Friday afternoon.

Twitter has said it has more than 200 million daily users.

Twitter killer?

In the days leading up to Threads’ release, some people on social media referred to it as a “Twitter killer” because of the expectation that some users of the rival platform will jump ship in favor of the new app. Some Twitter users have expressed frustration with recent changes instituted by Musk.

Twitter has also seen a spike in hate speech since Musk bought the platform last year.

Threads was introduced as a clear spin-off of Instagram, which offers a built-in audience of more than two billion users, thereby sparing the new platform the challenge of starting from scratch. 

Zuckerberg is widely understood to be taking advantage of Musk’s chaotic ownership of Twitter to push out the new product, which Meta hopes will become the go-to communication channel for celebrities, companies and politicians.

“It’s as simple as that: if an Instagram user with a large number of followers such as Kardashian or a Bieber or a Messi begins posting on Threads regularly, a new platform could quickly thrive,” strategic financial analyst Brian Wieser said on Substack. 

Analyst Jasmine Engberg from Insider Intelligence said Threads only needs one out of four Instagram monthly users “to make it as big as Twitter.” 

“Twitter users are desperate for an alternative, and Musk has given Zuckerberg an opening,” she added. 

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri told users that Threads was intended to build “an open and friendly platform for conversations.” 

“The best thing you can do if you want that too is be kind,” he said.

Twitter changes under Musk  

Under Musk, Twitter has seen content moderation reduced to a minimum, with glitches and rash decisions scaring away celebrities and major advertisers.

Musk hired advertising executive Linda Yaccarino to steady the ship, but she has not been spared his whimsy. 

The Tesla tycoon said last week that he was limiting access to Twitter to ward off AI companies from “scraping” the site to train their technology. Musk then angered Twitter’s most devoted aficionados by declaring that access to its TweetDeck product — which enables users to view multiple accounts and Twitter lists at once — would be for paying customers only.

Read the full article at CBS News.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...