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#02 The Bird’s Fall: Is Twitter’s Throne Threatened by Meta’s Threads?

“carbon copy” of Twitter, Threads seems to have it all.

There’s a new kid on the block mirroring Twitter, and it goes by the name of Threads. Launched on the 6th of July, 2023, Meta – the proud parent company of Facebook – thrust Threads into the digital world, making the tweet-loving bird sit up and take notice. With Threads’ striking resemblance to Twitter, it promises a playground for short, snappy conversations.

In this today’s newsletter, we’re going to explore:

  • Is the bird losing its perch?
  • Is Elon Musk the hero or the villain?
  • Why Threads’ launch timing was a masterstroke?

Bonus: Expert’s guide on crisis communication in the social media age.


Why Is Twitter In Crisis?

Since Elon Musk’s takeover, Twitter has faced continuous backlash and controversy, resulting in a decline in public trust and a negative perception even prior to the launch of Meta’s Threads.

  • Musk’s strategic missteps, such as reinstating controversial figures and implementing temporary viewing limits for free accounts, have exacerbated the crisis and destabilized Twitter’s public image. Due to concerns about moderation standards and the platform’s reputation. Advertising revenue, which accounts for 90% of Twitter’s annual revenue, has suffered as advertisers reduce spending and pause campaigns.
  • Meta’s Threads, emphasizing positivity and improved moderation, threatens Twitter’s user base and advertising revenue, while Musk’s ongoing feud with Zuckerberg intensifies the rivalry between the tech giants.


Timing of Launch

The timing could not be better. This move has already been successful in terms of communication. Twitter is in crisis. Shortly before, Musk announced that messages per user would be restricted. The anger among users was enormous.

Twitter copy– Threads, is linked directly to Instagram, so can build on a billion-strong network from the start. Now it’s available in more than 100 countries. 

But for the EU & Switzerland… not quite party time yet.

The app is not available in the European Union and Switzerland for the time being.

Meta first needs to clarify how data exchange between the new platform and the Instagram app will be regulated. This is due to the stricter rules of the European General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO), which also applies in Switzerland.

It is not yet clear when Threads will be available in Europe. Users from the region will be able to view posts in a web view, but neither share nor like them.


 Is Your Privacy and Data Security Worth Compromising? 

Think twice before signing up for a platform that may not adhere to the strict privacy standards of GDPR, even if you are outside of Europe.

Since Threads is closely linked to Instagram, concerns have been raised about Meta’s compliance with these privacy regulations.

Before signing up to Threads by Meta, consider the potential privacy concerns and data handling practices. While Threads may not adhere to GDPR standards, GDPR-approved platforms prioritize user privacy and data protection, offering greater control and transparency. Choose a platform that safeguards your information and prioritizes your peace of mind.


Critical Role of Twitter & Threads in Crisis Situations

Twitter promotes itself as a rescue channel for crisis communication. Many companies, blue light organizations and NGOs use Twitter as a channel for crisis communication. They are mostly companies and organizations that operate in sensitive areas. 

As the case of the hacker attack on Düsseldorf University Hospital two years ago showed: many patients and visitors were informed about the cyber attack with Twitter at this time.

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Credit: NBC News

The hospital’s own software stopped working for hours. One patient died: Her ambulance unfortunately had to be diverted because of the IT failure. Too much time passed. 

Useful feature of Twitter: Threads can be used to provide ongoing status updates. Unfortunately, last week the number of tweets per user was limited.

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Credit: Aljazeera

What a coincidence that Meta’s new solution is also called Threads and is now supposed to close this gap. The new user figures are positive. On 10 July 2023, newspapers headlines: Record-breaking growth: Threads reaches 100 million members.

 Why Twitter & Threads are essential in crisis situations.

When your company is hit by a crisis. You need to keep the threads of communication in your hands. You may need to communicate more frequently and transparently with your stakeholders.

It is important that you do this within the first few minutes. Otherwise you will be talked about, on and offline.

Internal crisis communication

In a crisis, it is important to react quickly. Internally, use the channels that your employees use most often. Here you probably already use an instant messaging channel. Don’t forget about external staff who don’t check their email regularly. They usually rely on one of the readily available messaging tools.

External crisis communication

Here you should choose an appropriate and effective channel for communicating with your stakeholders. There are many factors that influence the choice of communication channel: Urgency, availability, accessibility and the channel’s feedback and participation capabilities. For years, Twitter was the leader in this area.

Further, you should send press releases through your usual press distribution list. Also use your website to report updates on the crisis. Also do this interactively with pictures and live videos to inform your key stakeholders about the progress and results.


Crisis Statement Framework for Social Media

I always give my clients a guide for external crisis communication, so I’m confident in giving you this advise. I call it an emergency statement.

The building blocks for an emergency statement are:

  1. What happened? Provide information about the established facts (always cite the source): “According to initial findings, this and that happened. We immediately took the necessary steps.”
  2. “That’s all I can tell you at the moment.” Always state the reason.
  3. As necessary/needed, show empathy in your own words (for victims, relatives, emergency services and authorities). Do not use empty phrases. Be empathetic.
  4. Who is doing what concretely now? Example: “The task force is currently meeting. We are working closely with the authorities / government.” 
  5. When does who communicate actively? When does who communicate actively? 

Example: “Our operations manager will brief at 2pm.”

When a crisis strikes, this emergency statement guide ensures you navigate with clarity and compassion.

Get ahead with the facts, show empathy, outline concrete actions, and communicate proactively.



Why Neither of the Two is Reliable for Crisis Management at this point.

As long as Twitter limits tweets and Threads is not active in the EU and Switzerland, neither platform is a reliable partner for crises.

  • Twitter’s temporary viewing limits on tweets restrict the flow of information during critical situations, making it difficult to effectively communicate and manage crises.
  • Threads’ absence in the European Union and Switzerland raises concerns about its ability to comply with strict privacy standards and handle sensitive crisis-related information in a responsible manner.

Given these limitations, neither platform provides the necessary tools and reach to be considered reliable partners for crisis management at this point.

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