Amid the confusion of X, Twitter’s sudden rebrand, Meta’s looking to capitalize on a new wave of Twitter cast-offs who are keen to try out something new, with some new features for Threads that will help to bring it much closer to the traditional Twitter experience.
The biggest addition is a new ‘Following’ feed, in addition to the main ‘For you’ stream of recommended and following content, which will now enable Threads users to only see content from the profiles that they’ve chosen to follow in the app.
The ‘Following’ feed, which will be displayed in chronological order, was a key omission from the app at launch, which forced Threads users to sift through a stream of accounts that they’d never heard of, and turned many off, based on the odd recommendations they were seeing.
The problem, in this case, was that Instagram was using your Instagram graph as a proxy for Threads interest, so it showed you Threads content from accounts that you already follow or had shown interest in on IG. But people come to Instagram and Twitter with very different intent, which meant that the content you were shown was often not the type of update that you likely want in your Threads stream.
But now, you’ll have more control over what’s displayed, which will make it much more Twitter-like, and will likely enhance engagement and interaction within the app as a result.
Though it could also lessen your Threads viewing metrics, as more users revert to the ‘Following’ stream, and are thus less exposed to a wider range of content from accounts they don’t follow. That could also be why Meta hasn’t made this an upfront option. You need to tap on the Threads logo at the top of the main feed to see the two tabs, and you can then swipe across to each.
Meta would prefer that people kept viewing content from a wider range of sources, in order to improve exposure for creators, and to highlight the best-performing content from across the app, as opposed to people narrowing their focus into their niche groups, and maybe that will be a more viable option as the Threads algorithm improves, and it better understands what users want from Threads, specifically.
But right now, the ‘Following’ feed is a big addition, that will certainly help Threads enhance the user experience.
In addition to this, Threads now also has post translations.
As per this example, Threads posts in feed will now be automatically translated based on the language that they're written in, and the language settings of the person viewing it. You’ll also be able to translate posts into other languages by tapping the translation button at the bottom right of the post.
Meta’s also added new sorting options for your ‘Activity’ feed, enabling you to filter the listed actions by follows, quotes and reposts, while it’s also added a new ‘Follow’ button within your followers list to help you build your feed with new voices.
Meta’s also added a new activity-tracking element, so you can see a full listing of the posts that you’ve liked (in the ‘Settings’ menu), while there’s also an option to ‘approve all’ follow requests, another means to build your Threads graph.
These are some handy updates, though the ‘Following’ feed is by far the biggest.
And again, with Twitter gradually reshaping itself, and transforming into Elon Musk’s ‘X’ vision, maybe now is the best time for users to consider their real-time social options, which will lead to more former Twitter users seeking an alternative.
It seems likely that there’ll be another surge in Threads interest (Threads added 2 million more members yesterday), and having more Twitter-like features will certainly make these people feel more at home in the app.