Meta Platforms’ new text-based social media offering Threads amassed 10 million sign-ups in the first seven hours of launch, CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) claimed as he pitched the platform as a friendly alternative to rival Twitter.

Zuckerberg revealed the sign-up figure in a post on the new platform, which as expected officially launched today (6 July) in more than 100 countries, although it is not currently available in the European Union due to uncertainty about regulation.

Users are able to log on to Threads on a desktop PC or a standalone app using an existing Instagram account, employing the same username and offering the ability to migrate followers from the photo-sharing app to instantly create a new network.

Posts are limited to 500 characters and can include links, photos and videos up to five minutes in length. Meta Platforms also stated it was working to make the offering compatible with open, interoperable social networks “that we believe can shape the future of the internet”.

The launch undoubtedly poses a threat to Twitter given the fact Instagram itself has more than 2 billion users.

As with Twitter, Threads content can be liked, replied to and reposted.

Twitter has come under fire over some of the shake-ups introduced by owner Elon Musk since his takeover, including a move this week to limit the amount of tweets users can view.

Musk has also relaxed rules around content moderation as part of his goal to keep Twitter as a platform to promote free speech, which has proved controversial with users and advertisers.

In post announcing Threads’ launch, Zuckerberg stated his goal was to keep it “friendly as it expands”.

“I think it’s possible and will ultimately be key to its success. That’s one reason why Twitter never succeeded as much I think it should have, and we want to do it differently.”

It is notably not the first time a rival to Twitter has emerged, although challengers including Donald Trump’s Truth Social; invite-only Bluesky Social, a company which counts Jack Dorsey among its board members; and Mastodon have arguably failed to gain a big enough user base to be considered mainstream.