exp meta threads twitter constine intv 070602ASEG1 cnni business_00010819.png
META launches Twitter rival app "Threads"
05:57 - Source: CNN
New York CNN  — 

Threads on Thursday became available to users in the European Union, dealing yet another likely blow to X from a rival platform.

Threads teased the EU launch earlier this week by showing an untitled countdown timer to residents in the region who visited the site. Meta, controlled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, launched Threads in July as a sister platform to Facebook and Instagram and as a direct rival to X as a short-form text platform.

Many people have been eagerly waiting for Threads EU to come online — some European users have even posted to X noting that they were excited for the availability of its rival. Meta leaders have said it had delayed launching in Europe to ensure it could meet unique regulatory requirements in the region.

Even without many European users, Threads grew to around 100 million monthly active users as of October, Zuckerberg said in an earnings call that month. That’s thanks, at least in part, to users of X seeking alternative platforms because of frustration with erratic and controversial decision-making by X owner Elon Musk.

Threads, by contrast, presents itself as a more friendly, less divisive community — and has largely delivered, although some users have urged the platform to continue working to make it easier to find the news and communities they’re interested in following.

The option for millions more users to switch from X to Threads could present an additional challenge to the already embattled platform formerly known as Twitter, which is simultaneously facing an advertiser exodus over concerns about hate speech and Musk’s promotion of fringe ideologies.

“Today we’re opening Threads to more countries in Europe. Welcome everyone,” Zuckerberg said in a post on the platform Thursday as the EU rollout began.

Zuckerberg previously said he’s aiming to grow Threads to more than 1 billion users worldwide in coming years — and while the platform is still a far way off from that milestone, the EU launch gets it one step closer.

Threads launched with a bang in July amid a particularly rough moment for X, and within days racked up millions of user signups, raising questions about X’s future. But engagement quickly declined as users griped about its barebones features.

But Thursday’s launch is a reminder of how Meta has quietly continued building out the app, and steadily grown its daily user base, too.

In the months since the Threads launch, the platform has added features including a desktop version, a following feed and, more recently, topic tags (essentially, a hashtag but without showing the hash symbol) that make it easier to discover content about specific subjects.

Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri, who is also running Threads, said Tuesday that the company plans to extend fact checking on Threads in the new year.