What are the differences between Threads and Twitter?

Nothing has driven fast, smart, global conversations like Twitter for the past decade and change. Shifting winds, however, are now pointing millions away from Elon Musk’s platform and over toward Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads.


Text exchanges are the core focus on both platforms, but the gap is certainly wider regarding richer features. Let’s take a quick look at the differences.

We should acknowledge that Twitter will have the upper hand over Threads on paper, but most of this advantage can be attributed to age more than anything else. You can very much expect glitches and bugs to appear and get smoothed over along the way. Furthermore, with the situation remaining highly changeable in 2023, some of the features we mention here might not actually be in place as of when you’re reading this. Pocket-lint may offer coverage as events warrant, so keep a bookmark with us for updates.


What features do Threads and Twitter share?

In the social media market, both mainly trade in text posts. You can attach photos, GIFs, and videos to your tweet or thread, but we’re mainly talking about the good ol’ script. You can chain up multiple posts at once to get your points across. You populate your home screen with posts by following people.

You can “like” or “favourite” other users’ posts as well as your own by selecting the heart icon underneath each post. You can also “repost” or “retweet” posts you and others have made by hitting the icon with the funky arrows on them. These “quote posts” or “quote tweets” can be posted as-is or amended with further comment and media.

You can prevent certain people from seeing your posts or choose to mute posts from certain people on Twitter and Threads. You can also report other users. You can limit who can reply to your posts on either platform – options include everyone, people you follow, and only people you mention.

Twitter has long had a verified user program that Meta, the owner of Instagram, which runs Threads, has only recently booted up. Currently, you can pay $8 per month on Twitter as part of Twitter Blue or $14.99 per month on Instagram to get a checkmark badge on your profile that ostensibly implies you are who you say you are.

What are the major differences between Twitter and Threads?

Practically too much to list in this article, honestly. Musk isn’t afraid to issue radical directives that can immediately impact how people use Twitter. We’ll focus on the biggies at this moment.

The most glaring omission on the part of Threads at this point is the lack of a full-fledged web client. You can only view posts when visiting the threads.net domain. Twitter.com allows for full interactions – i.e., liking and retweeting. It’s not immediately clear if this is by design, but we presume Threads will be on the web in full once it gets up to speed.

Free users are given a 240-character limit per post on Twitter, while Thread users get 500. Similarly, videos are limited to 512MB and up to 2 minutes, 20 seconds on Twitter, while Threads bumps the ceiling up to 5 minutes.

Hashtags have been quintessential to the Twitter experience for the longest time. They let you track posts related to a trend that don’t necessarily use any vernacular or keywords associated with it. You can put a pound sign in front of a #word on Threads, but at least for right now, you can’t search them up – the search function is only for finding other users.

Your home screen on Twitter has two feeds: an algorithm-driven one called “For you” and a straight chronological feed called “Following.” There’s only one feed on Threads right now, and it shows posts in a non-linear order featuring posts and replies from people you follow. This ends up flooding your feed with original posts that come from people you don’t know.

Other major features that Twitter is holding above Threads are:

  • Lists, user-curated feeds to follow groups of people like family, friends, or people who share an interest.
  • Bookmarks for keeping particular favourite messages in easy access.
  • A subscription service in Twitter Blue which opens up several premium features

Twitter has buying and placement systems for advertising on its network. Threads may very well have such systems soon, but that is not the case right now. Neither is it the case that Threads has an API that lets third-party developers create their own apps that work with data from the Threads platform. Twitter does have user data APIs, but your level of access will depend on how much you pay – in some cases, it’s as much as $5,000 per month.

A less tangible difference that favors Threads is Meta’s network effect. Even if it’s only available for Instagram users in the United States at the moment, providing an easy way to sign up lets those millions and millions of people come on board very easily. Twitter took years to get to where it is. With that many eyeballs at play, Meta will be eager to get ads up and running once the company can get Threads to a point where users enthusiastically get along with it. Blink, and you could miss a major move that could upend momentum.

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