(New York) The new Threads social network, launched by the American giant Meta to compete with Twitter, continues on Thursday with a whirlwind start with more than ten million users in its first hours, but its deployment in Europe is delayed for reasons regulations.

The application, launched Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST in 100 countries and currently working without ads, is the biggest challenge to Twitter, owned by Elon Musk, already weakened by a series of adventures .

“Let’s go. Welcome to Threads,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Threads account at the launch, before announcing there early Thursday that “ten million signups in seven hours.”

He had previously responded to several users on his account and announced the crossing of the bar of five million subscribers during the first four hours of existence of the platform.

He notably welcomed the arrival of MMA champion Jon Jones and launched a spade at his rival Elon Musk: “It will take time, but I think there should be a conversations app with at least a billion people on it. . Twitter had the opportunity to do so, but failed. We hope to get there.” He also sent his first tweet in over a decade, showing Spiderman pointing to a Spiderman meme.

On Threads, many celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and Hugh Jackman have already opened accounts as well as Netflix or the Washington Post, Reuters and The Economist.

“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.” »

Meta chose to wait before offering Threads to residents of the European Union while it clarified the consequences of the new Digital Markets Regulation (DMA), which came into force in early May, according to a source familiar with the matter.

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.

The Threads go live comes just four months after the first echoes of the project leaked, and days after further twists and turns at Twitter already weakened by a series of unwelcome decisions since its takeover by Elon Musk – transformation into a service paying for account verification or laying off almost all of the content moderation teams.

On Saturday, the billionaire announced the establishment, officially on a provisional basis, of a limit to the number of messages that can be consulted per account and per day. On Monday, Twitter revealed that the TweetDeck dashboard would 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.

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. »

With its more than two billion active users, Instagram gives Threads a launch pad that Twitter’s smaller competitors, from Mastodon to Bluesky, to ultra-conservative favorites like Truth Social, Parler, Gettr or Gab.

Threads thus allows Instagram users to be authenticated with their existing identifiers to post 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 time frame,” analyst Brian Wieser wrote on Substack, a newsletter platform.

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 been able to stem the new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, who arrived at Twitter a month ago, but has been very silent so far.