Why is Threads developing an API?
Threads continue to gain momentum steadily. It also wants to add more features to fuel engagement and reach parity with X and other social media apps.
In order to do that, it needs to add DMs that it is working on and hashtags, another highly requested feature that Instagram chief Adam Mosseri is not very interested in providing.
Is there any other essential element for publishers?
There is another crucial element, for publishers at least. It is an API, and It would then enable third-party platforms to schedule Threads posts. It will facilitate more direct Threads for posting options into their systems.
Gabe Rivera, the CEO of the highly influential Techmeme, has been calling for this for months. It highlights it as the critical reason that Techmeme is not active in the app.
It is likely true for many other publishers and news distributors, and adding it could have a significant impact on making Threads a more central home for content discovery and related discussion, thus driving more growth for the app.
But Mosseri needs to be more sure and seems hesitant about expanding the app’s publisher focus.
In response to a recent question about a Threads API, Mosseri says they are working on it.
The concern of users is that it will mean a lot more publisher content and not much more creator content, but it still seems like something we need to get done.
What Mosseri has noted further on Threads?
Mosseri further noted that he wants Threads to focus on creators and not on news publishers because creators are the ones who are increasingly driving engagement.
Mosseri emphasizes focusing on creators because they drive more engagement and cultural relevance. They have an outsized influence on public perception, too.
What does Mosseri believe regarding creators?
Mosseri believes that creators will become more critical as power shifts from institutions to individuals across industries.
It is a reiteration of Mosseri’s comments in the early days of the app that the Threads team won’t be looking to amplify news content specifically.
He is saying so due to the scrutiny, negativity, and integrity risks that come along with it despite the benefits that come with news content engagement.
What more Mosseri is trying to explain?
Mosseri is also saying that there are more than enough fantastic communities like sports, music, fashion, beauty, and entertainment to focus on making a vibrant platform without needing to get into politics or hard news.
How is Mosseri trying to clarify his stance?
Mosseri has since been pressed to clarify his stance on this topic. He is trying to explain that, in the past, Meta has over-promised news publishers and essentially failed them by having to backtrack on various initiatives.
For example, The dedicated news tab of Facebook is now in the process of getting removed, and its Watch video streaming hub, for which Meta had pushed publishers to share more video updates.
Shifts like this prompted newsrooms to hire more video creation staff, who had to be let go when Meta eventually changed focus.
At the same time, the data Meta shows that people have had enough of divisive news content and debates. It has seen many reduce their Facebook usage, too.
What kind of trend has Meta reversed recently?
More recently, Meta has been able to reverse that trend by adding more AI-recommended content, and this kind of content is mainly in the form of Reels.
These reels were mainly focused on light-hearted and entertaining clips that aligned with the users’ interests.
It is the critical shift that Meta is looking to amplify within Threads, too, although it is doing so in the text form, which is another big challenge. While de-emphasizing news could also impede the growth of Threads.
Although, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes this is the best way forward.
What Zuckerberg has explained in his recent interview with ‘The Verge’?
In a recent interview with The Verge, Zuckerberg explained that a lot of the conversation around social media is around information and the utility aspect.
But Zuckerberg thinks it is an equally important part of designing any product and how it makes you feel, right? What’s the kind of emotional charge of it, and how do you come away from that feeling?
Zuckerberg further explains that Instagram is generally on the happier end of the spectrum, and he also says that Facebook is sort of in the middle because it has joyful moments.
But then, it also has more challenging news and things like that, and he tends to think that just be more critical and make people see some of the negative things happening in the world.
Zuckerberg also explains that Twitter indexes are powerful in being negative and critical.
According to Zuckerberg, Twitter, now known as the ‘X’ platform, is primarily fueled by divisive discussion and political debate.
It is because that is what its algorithm interprets as most attractive to most people. But it does not have to be that way.
Zuckerberg thinks you could create a discussion experience that was not so negative or toxic. By doing so, it would be more accessible to many people.
So, while many users are looking for Threads to become a direct replacement for X. It provides real-time updates on varying news topics.
Meta is looking at it from a different perspective in trying to inject positivity into such discussion, as opposed to beating you down with the latest argumentative takes and divisive issues.
The Threads team has hesitated to include a trending topics display, as using some basic engagement metrics will inevitably skew toward the issues, driving more angst and thus comments and engagement.
It drives comments, with various studies showing that high-arousal emotions, like anger, fear, and joy, are more likely to prompt replies and engagement.
What more Meta is looking at?
Meta is looking at the latter end of that spectrum and using the interest in Reel content as a proxy for how it maximizes time spent in the app. It also balances the need for real-time information updates between more positive experiences.
So you are more likely to see funny videos in your “For You” feed, as opposed to just post after post about the latest political debates.
The posts on political debates will show up, too, but Meta needs to make this its primary focus as a means to eke out engagement from arguments.
It is seen as a more sustainable path forward, but within that, it also means that the Threads team is treading very carefully on elements like an API. It could, as Mosseri notes, see publisher content take over the app.
That, ideally, won’t happen, but to mitigate that influx, the Threads team needs to build systems to dilute the influence of publisher content within user feeds.
So, it is not just the fact that it needs to build an API. It also needs to reformat its algorithm in anticipation of any impacts.
What’s the focus of Threads here?
The same is true with trending topics; these are coming, but the focus of Threads is not to create Twitter 2.0 but to build a better version of what Twitter could be based on a more positive user experience.
It is an ambitious goal, but if anyone has the experience to make it happen, it is the team of Meta.
As X slides further and further into divisive political debate, and people are yelling at one another in their replies, the depiction of Threads will become more stark.
Whether it is a winning strategy remains to be seen, but this is the ultimate driving goal of Threads’ development.
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