THAT WAS QUICK: Zucks New Social Media “Threads” Is Already Harvesting User Data and Censoring

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Mark Zuckerberg started out as a thief and he’s gotten much better at it over time.

As a result of Instagram’s existing enormous user base, Meta’s (previously known as Facebook) new Twitter rival Threads has experienced explosive growth in its first full day after making its introduction to the public on Wednesday night.

Based on the screenshots some users have provided of their membership data, the text-based social networking platform already has more than 50 million signups. Based on internal business statistics it had seen, The Verge revealed on Thursday that users had already posted over 95 million messages and received 190 million likes.

The reality that Threads is connected to an already-existing social network, Meta’s Instagram, aids in the exponential expansion. As more people download the app, users are able to sign up using their current Instagram usernames and keep some of their followers.

According to Insider Intelligence Principal Analyst Jasmine Enberg, for Meta to be as popular as Twitter, it only requires 1 in 4 Instagram users to utilize Threads on a regular basis. In its final quarterly revenue report as a publicly traded company last summer, Twitter reported about 238 million actual users who were on the platform daily that it could make money via advertising.

Zuckerberg announced that the company wanted to “create an open and friendly public space for conversation.”

According to tech-news website Ars-Technica, “Musk’s X Corp., the successor company to Twitter, yesterday threatened to sue Meta over alleged intellectual property violations in Meta’s new Threads social network.”

Musk’s lawyer Alex Spiro wrote a letter on behalf of X Corp. to Meta CEO Zuckerberg. “Based on recent reports regarding your recently launched ‘Threads’ app, Twitter has serious concerns that Meta Platforms has engaged in systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”

The letter was revealed today in a Semafor article. “Competition is fine, cheating is not,” Musk tweeted about the letter.

Spiro claims ex-Twitter employees built Threads
Spiro’s letter complains about Meta hiring some of the many workers who were laid off or resigned from Twitter in the eight months since Musk bought the company.

“Over the past year, Meta has hired dozens of former Twitter employees… these employees had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information,” Spiro wrote in the letter to Zuckerberg. The workers, he alleged, “owe ongoing obligations to Twitter,” and many “have improperly retained Twitter documents and electronic devices.”

Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, pointed out that the new Instagram Threads was already gathering tons of information on its users.

The owner of a new AI newsletter website called Big Brain Daily noted Zuckerberg’s controlling nature.

The dangers of a world where Zuck controls ALL social media:

Like many other people, I’ve been having fun playing with the new app.

But it’s important to remember what is at stake here…

Zuck already controls the largest:

-Messaging apps on the planet (WhatsApp, Messenger)
-Photo sharing app on the planet (Instagram)
-Friends/family app on the planet (Facebook)

This is the same guy who has regularly censored people, sold off our data to random 3rd parties (Cambridge Analytica), and copied the hard work of others.

The last thing I want is for him to also have control of the top Microblogging app on the planet.

You don’t have to love
to recognize his commitment to free speech and his place as one of the few remaining contenders to Zuck’s monopoly.

For that reason, I will remain committed to posting on Twitter and I hope you all do the same.

Say no to the Meta monopoly.

The site owner went on:

Another sinister angle:

Meta had been scraping Twitter data to train their AI models.

With Elon blocking access, they needed a Twitter clone to have more user text to train on.

Will explain tomorrow in my AI newsletter

Author Michael Shellenberger noted that “within a few hours of launching, Threads was already secretly censoring users and not offering them the right to appeal.”

“@Meta/IG just released their new threads platform,” said conservative commentator Derek Utley at Twitter, “and I’ve been informed by multiple users that I’m censored on their new platform. Sheesh, can’t a dude catch a break.”

Another conservative, Rogan O’Hanley, said, “First 5 minutes on Threads and already censored. What a platform.”

Threads flashed a warning after users clicked on Utley and O’Hanley’s profiles. “Are you sure you want to follow…?” asked the Threads warning. “This account has repeatedly posted false information.”

Shellenberger went on:

Meta is already too powerful. One company controls what much of the public is allowed to see. And if Threads succeeds, it will have 80% of the global market outside of Russia and China, according to one industry insider. As such, it’s reasonable to expect that Meta will censor precisely the same way the large news media corporations, including the New York Times, and corporate advertisers want it to. More censorship is what the mainstream news media, big corporations, and their celebrity pitch people have been demanding. …additionally, Unlike Twitter, Threads collects data about “Health & Fitness,” “Financial Info,” “Sensitive Info,” and “Other Data.”

Of course, there was some humorous commentary regarding the creation of yet another social media platform.


Ars Technica

Michael Shellenberger


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