(New York) Meta on Wednesday launched its new social network, called Threads, a “microblogging” platform with characteristics similar to those of Twitter, a threat to the group of Elon Musk, already weakened.

“Let’s go. Welcome to Threads,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Threads account, a post that garnered several thousand “likes” within minutes, signaling the social media newcomer’s off to a flying start.

“Instagram’s text chat app. This is the description of Threads on the Apple Store.

“We hope (Threads) can be an open and welcoming platform for discussions,” Instagram boss Adam Mosseri wrote. “If that’s what you want too, the best way is to be kind.” »

Mr. Mosseri regretted that the deployment of Threads in Europe was postponed, explaining that if Meta had to wait for approval from Brussels, the going live would also have waited many months.

“I was worried to see our window close, because the timing is important,” he explained to the specialized site Platformer.

Still, in four hours of existence, Threads had reached the five million registration mark, according to a publication by Mark Zuckerberg on his official account.

In fact, the presentation of this new application appears close to that of Twitter, with a general thread, on which there are already many accounts of institutional players, in particular Netflix or that of the specialized information site The Hollywood Reporter.

On Saturday, the main shareholder Elon Musk announced the establishment, officially on a provisional basis, of a limit on the number of messages that can be consulted per account and per day, which took users, advertisers and developers the wrong way.

A decision which comes after several other badly received since the takeover of the billionaire, in particular the transformation into a paid service of the verification of an account or the dismissal of almost all of the content moderation teams.

On Monday, Twitter also revealed that the TweetDeck dashboard, which is very popular among active users, will soon only be accessible to verified, therefore paying accounts.

“The timing is very good for Meta,” commented Jonathan Taplin, author of two books on tech giants, including “The End of Reality,” due out in September. “There are loads of people who have an almost religious resistance to anything related to Elon Musk. »

For him, Threads does represent an existential threat to Twitter.

However, the immediate impact of this launch could be limited by the fact that Meta has chosen to wait before offering Threads to residents of the European Union.

The giant wants to take the time to clarify the consequences for the company and its products of the new digital market regulations (DMA), which came into force in early May, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The DMA aims to impose specific rules on essential internet companies, in particular Meta, to avoid anti-competitive practices.

Meta makes no secret of the synergies on which he intends to rely to rapidly grow his newborn, presenting him from the outset as an offshoot of Instagram.

The latter “is the most successful product of the Meta family,” recalls Pinar Yildirim, professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “They couldn’t associate this new product with Facebook, because that name no longer appeals to anyone. »

Threads thus allows Instagram users to be authenticated with their existing identifiers to publish content on the new platform.

“The equation is simple: if an Instagram user with a significant number of followers, like (Kim) Kardashian or (Justin) Bieber or (Lionel) Messi starts posting on Threads regularly, this new platform could grow. quickly and I think advertising budgets would follow in a tight timeframe,” analyst Brian Wieser wrote on Substack, a newsletter platform.

A few celebrities seemed to already have accounts on Threads when it launched, including singer Shakira, model Karlie Kloss and actor Jack Black.

This prospect is potentially all the more worrying for Twitter since the San Francisco group has seen its advertising revenue melt since the arrival of Elon Musk at its head.

An exodus that has not yet managed to stem the new general manager, Linda Yaccarino, who arrived at Twitter a month ago, but has been very silent so far.