In response to mounting user demand, Instagram Threads began rolling out one of its most eagerly awaited features yesterday: the ability to access and use the service via a web browser while logged in. Initially, web users can post, view their feed, and interact with posts right from their desktop, although it doesn’t yet offer an experience entirely equivalent to the Threads mobile app.
Web users, for instance, currently cannot edit their profiles or forward a thread to Instagram Direct Messages (DMs). This DM integration had been a newer feature, introduced to lure more users towards Threads, particularly since the app’s user engagement witnessed a decline post its highly publicized launch.
The addition of web support for Threads could be a monumental step for those transitioning from Twitter/X. Since its inception, web support had been a major request from users, second only to a reverse chronological “Following” feed, which Threads successfully introduced in July.
Hints about the imminent arrival of web support were palpable, especially after Instagram head, Adam Mosseri, last week hinted, “We’re close on web.” His statement was further bolstered by The Wall Street Journal’s leak confirming the web version’s launch this week.
Adam Mosseri shared that the Instagram Threads team had been trialing an internal version of the web version for a few weeks prior to launch. However, the initial experience for end-users was a bit restricted. They could only explore Threads by navigating to specific user profiles.
However, Threads, both as an app and a website, still lags behind Twitter (now known as X) as it currently lacks the ability to search post content or even hashtags. This limitation hampers the app’s potential as a dynamic hub for tracking news and global trends, an edge that Twitter/X still commands.
The promise of post search on Threads’ roadmap, as indicated by Mosseri, is an encouraging sign, yet during tests, this led to a dead-end with an error message. This underscores the fact that Threads is undeniably still evolving.
While testing the new Threads web version, it was noted that the user experience, though not fully functional, allowed switching between light and dark themes from a sidebar menu. One shortfall was that replying to a thread only displayed the original post, taking away the sense of participating in a broader dialogue.
Despite an impressive start with record-breaking downloads, Threads witnessed a significant drop in user engagement post-launch. However, the narrative of its decline might be premature. Indicators such as the web version rollout signal that Threads is in its nascent, albeit rapid development phase.
Interestingly, the majority of Threads’ user base consists of individuals transitioning from or considering leaving Twitter/X. This suggests that Threads’ traction might heavily depend on Twitter/X’s performance and user satisfaction.
Threads has future plans to integrate with the federated universe of decentralized social media, like Mastodon, and has even begun allowing user profile verification on Mastodon.
As Threads’ web version continues to roll out, the complete release is expected to finalize in the upcoming days, as reportedly confirmed by the company.