Instagram’s Threads, a subsidiary of Meta Platforms Inc., has introduced a ‘Following’ tab, a highly-requested feature that allows users to view posts from individuals they follow in chronological order. The announcement came from CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, responding to the feature request with, “Ask and you shall receive”. This update, which contrasts the algorithmically-curated content in the existing ‘For You’ feed, brings Threads on a level playing field with social media rivals like Twitter (now rebranded as ‘X’). The Threads app launched earlier this month, and this feature was among the most demanded by users since its inception.
Accessing and Utilizing the ‘Following’ Tab
Users can now switch between the ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ feeds by simply tapping the home icon or Threads logo at the top of the page. However, it’s worth noting that if you reopen the app after it fully shuts down, it reverts to the ‘For You’ feed, which may require users to re-navigate to the ‘Following’ feed. Whether this behavior is intentional or a bug is yet to be confirmed.
Parallels with Twitter
Users were quick to draw parallels between the new tab on Threads and the existing layout on Twitter, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. This includes Threads’ imitation of Twitter’s core icons and features, such as character limits. However, despite the similarity, Meta’s executives have pitched Threads as a more positive “public square” for communities, offering an alternative to those who never quite embraced Twitter.
New Features in Threads
The ‘Following’ feed is part of an update released on Monday that promised several new features on Threads. One such addition is the translation feature, enabling users to translate posts by tapping a small button on the bottom right of a Threads post. Other additions include the ability to sort the ‘Activity’ feed by follows, quotes, and reposts, and a way for users to view their liked posts in settings. This ‘Activity’ tab also allows users to filter notifications by various categories such as follows, replies, mentions, quoted posts, reposts, and interactions from verified accounts.
Threads’ Rapid Growth and Future Prospects
The Threads platform launched on July 5 amid a series of outages and controversial rate limit policies affecting Twitter users. The app swiftly garnered 100 million users, although the engagement has since tapered off. With the launch of the ‘Following’ tab and the promise of additional features, Threads aims to reinvigorate user engagement and activity. Zuckerberg hinted at more to come, possibly including the ability to post to Threads from the web, direct messages, improved accessibility, better search, and a TweetDeck-like feature to keep tabs on Threads posts. Meta announced that it is committed to delivering these new features to Threads as swiftly as possible. For more information on Threads, visit the official website here.
The introduction of the ‘Following’ tab and translation feature signals a pivotal moment for Threads as it responds to user feedback and aims to carve its own space in the competitive social media landscape. As Threads continues to innovate and evolve, it promises a user-centric approach to social media, with more control over content and a global, inclusive outlook. How it stands up to its competitors will be an interesting development to watch.