Why Threads, Meta’s Twitter Killer, Needs a Desktop Version

Social network users want to pound out messages on their laptops as well as phones

(Bloomberg) — On Threads, Meta Platforms Inc.’s Twitter copycat, users have been asking for weeks for a version that works on their computers. Soon, the company is expected to fulfill the wish.

In the mobile age, it’s not usually the desktop version of an app that makes or breaks its success. But Threads is focused on short text updates, which are sometimes easier to manage in a professional setting on a computer. Users with large followings and brands that buy advertising often keep the desktop version of X, formerly known as Twitter, open on their work computers during the day while they schedule posts, analyze performance, and manage any money they’re spending on the platform. None of those features exist yet on Threads.

A web version is ready and “rolling out over the next few days,” Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday. The company understands the app needs to be available on a desktop in order to build Threads into a weekday habit during work hours – especially after initial excitement with the app’s launch has faded – and claim users from X.  

The company said the web experience will allow posting, viewing the feed and interacting with others’ posts. 

Threads is a bright spot for growth at Meta while other departments are getting slashed. Since its launch on July 5 with just a few dozen employees, the company has given the group headcount of more than a hundred. If the project can’t attract repeat users and paying advertisers, the tech giant runs the risk of criticism from investors and employees alike. 

The tool racked up more than 100 million signups within days of its launch earlier this month and could generate about $8 billion in annual revenue over the next two years, according to Evercore ISI analysts. Since its peak, daily usage has declined more than 70%, according to Sensor Tower, a market research firm.

With the early buzz quieted, it’s still unclear where Threads will make its mark on internet culture. There is an opportunity to lure former Twitter users as the newly re-named platform undergoes vast changes under new owner Elon Musk’s leadership. But simply being an alternative to X won’t be enough to steal cultural relevance from its fast-growing rival, TikTok, Bloomberg has reported.  It’ll depend on the pace of the app’s updates, and whether it can appeal to a new set of users who may have never been on Twitter. 

(Updates with Zuckerberg announcement in the third paragraph.)

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