Threads Loses Over 50% of Initial Users After Launch: Zuckerberg

Meta is intensifying efforts to increase user retention on Threads, their newly launched X (formerly Twitter) rival, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported a sharp drop of more than half its users after the initial launch period. This was revealed during an internal company town hall meeting on Thursday.

Zuckerberg stated that while user retention was better than what executives had anticipated, it was “not perfect”. He said, “Obviously, if you have more than 100 million people sign up, ideally it would be awesome if all of them or even half of them stuck around. We’re not there yet,” according to a recording heard by Reuters.

The CEO did not consider the drop-off as alarming but rather “normal” for new platforms. He expressed confidence that user retention would improve as the company continues to enhance the app with features, including a desktop version and search functionality. These are much-needed features that should have emerged at the launch.

As part of their retention strategy, Chief Product Officer Chris Cox shared that Meta is exploring the inclusion of more “retention-driving hooks”. These would include synchronizing Threads with the Instagram app to boost visibility and user interaction.

These developments came just a day after Meta released a promising revenue growth forecast, which impressed investors and led to an 8% surge in Meta’s shares on Thursday. This suggested a potential rebound for a company that was previously under scrutiny due to its massive investment in metaverse technology, coinciding with a downturn in ad sales last year.

Threads was hugely popular at first due to its integration with Instagram. Users of the latter were able to sign up for Threads and follow existing users with just a few taps, without needing to download a new app.

Zuckerberg remains optimistic about the company’s metaverse initiatives, sharing that they are “not massively ahead of schedule, but on track.” He stated that Meta needed to start investing in emerging technology early on to stay competitive with rivals like Apple, Google, and Microsoft. He predicted that mass adoption of metaverse technologies would take place in the 2030s.

During the meeting, Zuckerberg and Cox also unveiled the company’s release of an artificial intelligence model, Llama 2, which they made freely available for commercial use to developers with services of less than 700 million users. The model has reportedly received over 150,000 download requests within a week of its release.

Finally, addressing rumours of a proposed “cage match” against Elon Musk, Zuckerberg said he was “not sure if it’s going to come together.”

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