Zuckerberg goes dead into a breach with Twitter

It feels like an odd plot twist in a satirical movie about the world of Big Tech: two competing tech billionaires challenge each other to a cage fight. But it is not a fantasy. When it was announced late last month that Mark Zuckerberg was launching a platform to compete with Twitter, Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “I’m ready to fight the cage if it is.” Zuckerberg, the head of Meta and a fanatical martial arts practitioner in his spare time, hasn’t allowed himself to be known. “Submit a location,” he said on Instagram, along with a screenshot of Musk’s tweet.

Journalist from Technology Magazine the edge He wanted to know if it was serious and called a Meta spokesperson. He was told that Zuckerberg’s letter “speaks for itself”.

Since then the plans have become more realistic, He writes New York times. The paper spoke with Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a major organizer of martial arts events. The tech billionaires tell him they’re really ready to fight each other: “They both want to do it.”

While preparing for the cage fight, the Meta alternative to Twitter will be revealed this week. It’s called Themes, and according to Meta, the new platform is an implementation of “Text-based conversation“.

The conversation app will be released on Thursday and can be found now on the App Store. However, the app is not yet available in the European Union at the moment, due to stricter European privacy rules. Users in the US and UK will have access to the new Meta app starting Thursday.

The interface is very similar to that of Twitter: you can like, retweet messages (i.e. “retweet”), and set who can read or comment on your messages (everyone, followers only, only certain accounts).

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Twitter’s new competitor builds on Meta’s other social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Users can start following all of their Instagram contacts on Threads if they wish, and they can easily log into the new app with their Instagram account.

Big hit for Twitter

The arrival of the strings could be a serious blow to Twitter, as it has been hanging by the ropes for some time. Since Musk bought the site in October of last year for $44 billion, the problems have been piling up. For example, it recently decided to allow far-right users who had been banned from Twitter back in — and as a result several advertisers (partially) pulled out. Twitter reported in April that its ad revenue was 59 percent lower than a year earlier.

Musk has also laid off more than 80 percent of Twitter’s staff since the acquisition. he told the BBC in April. Moreover, to frustrate users, it constantly invents new rules and restrictions. Since last week, Twitter has been made available only to people who have an account, while previously everyone, including non-members, could read messages on it. To the annoyance of many, the company also decided to cap the number of tweets you could view per day to six hundred – which later became a thousand.

Musk’s antics have long created a need for an alternative to Twitter. The main alternatives so far are BlueSky and Mastodon, which are platforms that are more careful about user privacy than the big tech companies. BlueSky operates by invitation and has already held off new members due to the high interest.

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According to Chris Cox, Head of Product Development at Meta, there is a need for an alternative to Twitter that is “run in a healthy way,” as he puts it. the edge. With this, Cox signaled the erratic way Musk manages his platform of opinions.

In terms of privacy, threads are not a good alternative to Twitter at the moment. In fact, the new app collects more data from users. That’s why Twitter founder Jack Dorsey — who now works for BlueSky — posted a screenshot of the privacy policy for Meta’s new conversational platform. Threads collect information about your contacts, purchases, location, health and fitness, and financial information. The Meta also records your search history and the tech company keeps track of when and how long you used the app and what messages in threads you viewed.

Due to these privacy risks, Themes is not yet available in the EU at this time. Watchman reported Wed European data privacy legislation hinders its introduction. It is expected that Zuckerberg will be able to lure many souls with strings. With three billion users on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp combined, tech giant Meta is Twitter’s strongest competitor. Parties like Mastodon and BlueSky are much smaller.

A long-cherished dream

Threads are a long-cherished dream of Zuckerberg. Already in the early days of Twitter, he made an unsuccessful attempt to buy the app. Then it tried doing more of the Twitter-like stuff on Facebook: shifting focus to news and opinions — which was punished when it turned out that this led to massive misinformation. It also imitated the typical Twitter concept of trending hashtags on its platforms Facebook and Instagram, which allows users to see what is popular at the time.

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With themes, Zuckerberg finally has his own doppelgänger on Twitter. And he can beat his sick opponent. In Silicon Valley, some have called the app the “Twitter Killer”.

And that cage fighting? “Fight Chance at the Colosseum,” Elon Musk tweeted on June 30. Loved by the tabloid press: a contemporary gladiatorial fight in Rome between two of the world’s richest and most powerful men? But according to the same newspapers, the Italians would only be open to a non-violent confrontation.

More serious media interpret the situation as typical of the world of big tech. It is more common for leaders to bark in public than in other sectors, told psychologist Katie Cook New York times. author The Psychology of Silicon Valley He describes the world of Big Tech as a “male-dominated, emotionally primitive” environment in which leaders are rewarded for displaying superior masculine behavior.

Musk has the largest mouth yet. The tech billionaire tweeted: “I have a cool trick I call ‘The Walrus,’ where I lie on top of my opponent and do nothing. But Zuckerberg has been doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since last summer and recently beat an Uber engineer in a tournament.

Musk is less athletic. “I rarely train, except when I pick up my kids and throw them in the air,” he said on Twitter.

Update July 5, 4:30 PM: This article has been supplemented with news that Themes will no longer be available in the EU on Thursday.

Sophie Baker

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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