Meta’s Threads app launched early & it’s way more LGBTQ+-friendly than Twitter

Threads logo
Photo: Shutterstock

Lots of people, including transphobe Elon Musk, lost countless hours of sleep last night after Meta launched its new Threads app half a day earlier than planned.

The conversation-based Threads app from Meta is the latest social media platform to attempt to rival Twitter. Others, including Mastodon and Bluesky, have tried to take Twitter’s place ever since Musk acquired the app.

In its first seven hours, Threads saw more than 10 million users sign up, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s latest thread says the platform is up to 30 million within the first 24 hours.

A Thread from Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) stating "Wow, 30 million sign ups as of this morning. Feels like the beginning of something special, but we've got a lot of work ahead to build out the app."

Google Trends data for Threads vs. Twitter also showed the new app overtaking search popularity within hours of its launch. The early morning hours of July 6 saw Twitter regain popularity, but when Threaders reawoke, Meta’s new app regained its current reign.

a Google Trends graph showing the term "Threads" overtaking "Twitter" by 7:16 PM with Twitter regaining popularity in the early morning hours before Threads trended back up

Threads is a safer space for LGBTQ+ people

LGBTQ+ users were among the early adopters of the app. Many were quick to thread – or post – “cis” since the app doesn’t consider “cis” a slur like Twitter.

Thread’s timeline doesn’t show posts in chronological order. Instead, it uses an algorithm to display content, which means you will see posts from people similar to you, even if you are not following them yet. This “For You” style experience makes it easier to find and follow people who match your interests.

Many Threaders are finding new followers by posting calls-to-action based on interests, including, you guessed it, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

A thread from @radamridwan that reads "let’s do a thread of ✨ non-binary finery ✨

quote with a pic of your fine self (there’s no way to do it right)"

The platform isn’t without its faults, though. Ellen DeGeneres already posted her one and only thread so far saying “Welcome to Gay Twitter!” to many eye rolls and her already more than half a million followers.

Libs of TikTok – the Twitter account run by realtor Chaya Raichik who is known for calling LGBTQ+ people “groomers” – is also already present and publishing their nonsense.

The app even has built in safety measures that alert you before following potentially harmful accounts. If you click “follow” on @donaldjtrump, for example, you’ll receive a notification that says, “This account has repeatedly posted false information that was reviewed by independent fact-checkers or went against our Community Guidelines.”

A Threads notification when following @donaldjtrumpjr says, "This account has repeatedly posted false information that was reviewed by independent fact-checkers or went against our Community Guidelines."

Joining Threads is easy

To get on Threads, you just need to download its standalone mobile app from the Apple or Android app stores and link your Instagram account.

While you can access Threads links from a desktop computer, the experience of threading is only possible from your phone.

Helpful tips to know about Threads

Once you’re on the app, you’ll see that it’s a lot like Twitter, but prettier.

There are a few key items to note, though:

  • No hashtags: The platform doesn’t currently allow for hashtags, and its search feature is designed more for finding people than threads.
  • No NSFW content: Unlike Twitter, LGBTQ+ users were quick to note that they were subject to similar content policies and AI detection tools when it comes to posting nudes, so you’ll have to stick to the bird app for that. However, it’s not clear yet if a ban from Threads also results in a ban from Instagram.
  • Messy notifications: It’s difficult to keep up with all of the notifications that come through when you first sign up. It’s similarly not easy to know which of your new followers you already followed back or not.
  • No zooming in on profile pics: Threads also makes it difficult to know who you’re talking to unless they’ve threaded a picture of themself; however, you can click the Instagram logo above the picture in their bio to see and engage with their Instagram feed so long as it’s not private.
  • Follow everyone, or don’t: Lots of new Threads users are getting immediate boosts in followers as their Instagram network joins the app, but you have the option to start fresh by skipping the import option, if you’d like.
  • Nobody knows what anything is called (yet): There are mixed reviews on what things should be called on the app. Is a thread reply a stitch, or is a stitch what you call a quote thread? Do we even want to call anything a stitch?

We’re all figuring it out and making it up as we go, so don’t feel like you’re behind if you’re joining late.

Threads offers positive mental health features

Among the positive features of the app, including its accessibility, is that it allows you to create a list of “Hidden Words” for content and comments that you don’t want to see. Click the Settings menu in the top right of your profile, and then go to Privacy > Hidden Word to update your default settings and manage custom words and phrases.

And in other good news, if you’ve blocked a user on Instagram, they will stay blocked on Threads.

You can also schedule reminders every 10, 20, or 30 minutes to stop scrolling for a moment by activating Threads’ “take a break” feature by picking a time limit in Settings > Account > Take a break.

Leaving is hard

Many users noticed the similarities to the “Joan is Awful” Black Mirror episode when testing what it takes to leave the platform.

According to Threads’ Supplemental Privacy Policy, the process of deactivating or deleting your Threads account is tied to your Instagram account. While it’s possible to deactivate your Threads profile whenever you wish, complete deletion is only achievable by removing your Instagram account.

Enjoy the fleeting first moments before it all unravels

We’re still in the (mostly) unadulterated first moments of the app before sponsored posts and other new features are mixed into the platform.

It would be naive to assume that the current state of Threads will last for long. While scrolling the Threads feed, you will already see lots of feature requests directed at @threadsapp and @zuck himself.

So long as Musk, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and JK Rowling stay on the bird app and Trump stays on Truth Social, Threads looks like it might become the LGBTQ+-friendly social media platform we deserve.

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