5 votes

Facebook launches "Threads from Instagram", a new camera-first messaging app

19 comments

  1. [19]
    NaraVara
    Link
    Is it just me or does this sound like a shameless Snapchat rip-off. (Although the UI/UX looks much better than Snapchat's).

    Is it just me or does this sound like a shameless Snapchat rip-off.

    (Although the UI/UX looks much better than Snapchat's).

    4 votes
    1. [18]
      Deimos
      Link Parent
      Oh, it absolutely is. Snap's stock dropped ~5% as soon as it was announced.

      Oh, it absolutely is. Snap's stock dropped ~5% as soon as it was announced.

      7 votes
      1. [17]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Oh wow that's a big drop. Does Facebook still have enough cachet with the youths for something like this to take off though? I thought the kids these days were looking for alternatives.

        Oh wow that's a big drop. Does Facebook still have enough cachet with the youths for something like this to take off though? I thought the kids these days were looking for alternatives.

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          Deimos
          Link Parent
          My general impression is that they don't like Facebook, but everyone still loves Instagram. Buying Instagram was probably one of the smartest things that Facebook ever did, it seems to be carrying...

          My general impression is that they don't like Facebook, but everyone still loves Instagram. Buying Instagram was probably one of the smartest things that Facebook ever did, it seems to be carrying a lot of their growth/activity now.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            imperialismus
            Link Parent
            It seems like every generation wants a basic messenging app. First it was AIM. When I was a preteen/young teen, it was MSN Messenger. By the time I was in my late teens it was Facebook Messenger,...

            It seems like every generation wants a basic messenging app. First it was AIM. When I was a preteen/young teen, it was MSN Messenger. By the time I was in my late teens it was Facebook Messenger, to the point where a lot of people who rarely ever interacted with Facebook proper still used it for messenging. Now I get the impression Snapchat fills that void among younger users.

            In all these cases, the actual business and money-making prospects seem to be using messenging to rope people into a wider ecosystem because the real money’s not in the basic messenging, where users have a low-to-zero tolerance for ads.

            3 votes
            1. NaraVara
              Link Parent
              A lot of third party AIM and ICQ clients back in the day were ad supported, but it was passive banner advertising so it didn’t actually get in anyone’s way for anything. I think people would be...

              A lot of third party AIM and ICQ clients back in the day were ad supported, but it was passive banner advertising so it didn’t actually get in anyone’s way for anything. I think people would be fine with that kind of ad support if it’s what’s on offer. But apparently in the works of ad tech that stuff doesn’t pay the bills like it used to.

              3 votes
            2. emdash
              Link Parent
              Don't forget iMessage too.

              Don't forget iMessage too.

              2 votes
        2. [6]
          kfwyre
          Link Parent
          In one of my recent "fellow kids" moments, I was trying to make something relatable to my students, so I led with "You know when you're scrolling through your Facebook feed..." The mood in the...

          In one of my recent "fellow kids" moments, I was trying to make something relatable to my students, so I led with "You know when you're scrolling through your Facebook feed..."

          The mood in the room immediately changed to palpably aloof. Sensing this, I stopped and asked "What, do people not use Facebook anymore?" Responses were unilaterally negative, with one student offering her earnest assessment: "Facebook is for old people."

          I asked them what they did use, and responses were mostly "Snapchat" and "Insta" which I'm assuming is Instagram, but I'm out of touch enough that it very well could be something else.

          4 votes
          1. [5]
            elcuello
            Link Parent
            It's Instagram and next time try to explain that Facebook owns Instagram if anyone uses the ol' "I don't want Facebook to harvest all my data!"

            It's Instagram and next time try to explain that Facebook owns Instagram if anyone uses the ol' "I don't want Facebook to harvest all my data!"

            1 vote
            1. [4]
              papasquat
              Link Parent
              Most kids literally could not care less about data privacy. That's not why they don't use facebook. They don't use facebook because their parents are on it.

              Most kids literally could not care less about data privacy. That's not why they don't use facebook. They don't use facebook because their parents are on it.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                NaraVara
                Link Parent
                IMO teens today tend to be a lot more aware of data privacy issues than their (non-techie) parents or grandparents. I think they probably have a much more realistic sense for how little privacy...

                Most kids literally could not care less about data privacy

                IMO teens today tend to be a lot more aware of data privacy issues than their (non-techie) parents or grandparents. I think they probably have a much more realistic sense for how little privacy they actually have so they may be more fatalistic about it when it comes to data being harvested or used to manipulate them, but they're well aware of all the ways sensitive information about them can be leaked or distributed by their peers.

                2 votes
                1. clone1
                  Link Parent
                  Worrying about friends leaking sensitive information that they post online is a lot different from worrying about corporation and government data harvesting.

                  Worrying about friends leaking sensitive information that they post online is a lot different from worrying about corporation and government data harvesting.

              2. elcuello
                Link Parent
                Yeah, I'm aware of that it was just in case.

                Yeah, I'm aware of that it was just in case.

        3. [6]
          emdash
          Link Parent
          Facebook at this point is a company with a focus on capturing an audience around the world—the product through which they do that is unimportant. Facebook the product is largely irrelevant to the...

          Facebook at this point is a company with a focus on capturing an audience around the world—the product through which they do that is unimportant. Facebook the product is largely irrelevant to the younger demographic, though still used "by default" in many countries. People thought it was absurd for Facebook to spend billions on WhatsApp and Instagram, but it's buoyed their market capitalization by an inordinate number of billions.

          Their latest mistake by the look of it is failing to acquire TikTok when it was smaller.

          3 votes
          1. [5]
            imperialismus
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I don’t know. I could easily see TikTok going the way of Vine. Apps that target a young demographic with very short video clips don’t have a great track record. After all, who wants to watch an ad...

            I don’t know. I could easily see TikTok going the way of Vine. Apps that target a young demographic with very short video clips don’t have a great track record. After all, who wants to watch an ad on a 6-to-15 second clip? At a certain point, capturing an audience has to give way to actually monetizing that audience. Tumblr also failed, going from selling for 1.1 billion to 3 million, all because it failed to make a profit off that audience. Vine disappeared because it couldn’t make money. And even Snapchat still isn’t profitable.

            2 votes
            1. [4]
              NaraVara
              Link Parent
              I think Tumblr had too many extenuating circumstances with it to blame any one thing conclusively. All the various policy decisions on the business end probably had more to do with its issues than...

              I think Tumblr had too many extenuating circumstances with it to blame any one thing conclusively. All the various policy decisions on the business end probably had more to do with its issues than anything inherent to the platform or its business model.

              1 vote
              1. [3]
                imperialismus
                Link Parent
                I was about as heavily involved with tumblr in the very early days as anyone who wasn’t officially employed by them. I watched the entire lifecycle of the site. (I should really write some kind of...

                I was about as heavily involved with tumblr in the very early days as anyone who wasn’t officially employed by them. I watched the entire lifecycle of the site. (I should really write some kind of post about that, as it’s kind of fascinating, but I don’t have a blog anymore and I dunno if it would fit on tildes.)

                Anyway, I don’t really agree. Tumblr had the problem that a lot of tech startups do: its founder didn’t really care about making it profitable. David Karp focused on attracting more users by improving the service, and assumed the money would start flowing sooner or later. It never did. When Tumblr got bought out for upwards of a billion dollars, that wasn’t going to cut it for long. All the policy and interface changes they’ve made since the acquisition have been in the service of their business model. Or rather, their attempt to create one from a site that didn’t actually have one. It makes little sense to say that their business decisions didn’t affect their business model - all those decisions are what make up their business model.

                Could they have made better choices? Perhaps, but their problem is that this sort of thing is really really hard to monetize, as shown by the numerous other apps, services and sites that have tried and failed to do so.

                Users loved the old tumblr, when it didn’t have ads, had very few content restrictions, everything was free and every change was made with the user in mind. But it wasn’t profitable. They tried experimenting with premium features - didn’t work. They’ve been taking a cut off sales of premium themes for years, but that clearly wasn’t pulling in enough money. And so they turned to advertisements, but failed to make that profitable. Which also undercuts theme sales, because they became a walled garden in order to keep users within their own UI were they could serve ads - de-emphasizing the outwards-facing themes that they also tried to make money off of. But they probably had to try something like that because they weren’t making money as things stood.

                I can clearly see the logic behind most of their decisions, and it obviously didn’t work. Could they have made better decisions? Surely. But given the fact that other services that try to tap the same market are also struggling, I think fundamentally they’re just fighting an uphill battle. Tumblr was a startup surfing on the ‘make it and they will come, and when they come, the money will flow’ mantra that is incredibly common in startup and tech culture. Most startups fail on the ‘make it’ or ‘they will come’ steps. Most of the rest fail on the ‘money will flow’ part, and that’s Tumblr.

                The original Tumblr literally had no business model to actually make money. Then the business types came in and desperately tried to make it profitable, and failed. They had to fundamentally change the way the platform worked technically and socially because the original that users loved could not possibly be profitable, ever. Given that so many others struggle to become sustainably profitable in this space, I think it is an inherent problem with the platform and its business model. Not impossible to overcome, but very very hard.

                I could say a lot more on this, but this is turning into an essay. Hey, I’m just a guy on the internet and I could be wrong on this. But I happen to be very familiar with this particular platform’s history so I feel a bit more confident in commenting on it than I would be commenting on, say, Facebook, since I have no particularly special perspective on that.

                5 votes
                1. cfabbro
                  Link Parent
                  I think something like that would absolutely suit ~tech just fine. Tumblr is one of the few social media platforms I never really got into, but even so it's certainly an interesting one with a...

                  (I should really write some kind of post about that, as it’s kind of fascinating, but I don’t have a blog anymore and I dunno if it would fit on tildes.)

                  I think something like that would absolutely suit ~tech just fine. Tumblr is one of the few social media platforms I never really got into, but even so it's certainly an interesting one with a really interesting history (from what I know if it), so I would definitely be keen to read more of your perspective on it.

                  3 votes
                2. NaraVara
                  Link Parent
                  I think the issue there is probably more with pegging such a high valuation. I suspect lots of these services could run just fine if owners could content themselves with modest returns and perhaps...

                  I think the issue there is probably more with pegging such a high valuation. I suspect lots of these services could run just fine if owners could content themselves with modest returns and perhaps slower/lower development timelines.

                  I'm thinking of Wikipedia as an example. Here's their 2018 annual report. Their donations and support revenue alone is near $97M with net expenses at $23M. Even if we triple their expenses to make up for the lack of Wikipedia's volunteer labor force and tax-advantaged status, that still leaves nearly $30M in headroom. I have a hard time imagining you couldn't cover whatever costs are associated with higher technical complexity and hosting with that while still pulling a decent profit.

                  Once you decide that your comfortably $100M company needs to be a $500M or $1B+ company though, that's when you need to start making a lot of big bets to monetize. With the number of eyeballs Tumblr gets I imagine $150M worth of unobtrusive ads and sponsored content (rather than invasive ad tech or pushy overlays) or additional paid features for power-users couldn't have been that hard to bring in. Hell, they could have even built in a little patreon-style function into the site to pay content creators and taken a cut and probably done fine that way.

                  1 vote