As Advertisers Flee X, Threads Quietly Makes a Comeback

Mark Zuckerberg's Threads app looks like it's on the way up again, while X's advertising nightmares continue.

Elon Musk’s ongoing war with advertisers intensified in the last few days as Walmart – the world’s largest company by revenue – confirmed it had pulled its advertising from X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

While Musk struggles to keep his house in order, there seems to be some evidence that Meta’s Threads is making a comeback. New data charts a sharp uptick in new downloads this month, and the app is about to launch in Europe, marking its biggest expansion yet.

The X-odus Continues

Musk’s dicey relationship with advertisers caught the gaze of the world’s media once again last Wednesday after the tech mogul unceremoniously told advertisers to “go f*ck themselves” at the New York Times DealBook Summit.

The expletive-laden interview – praised by his right-leaning supporters and admonished by many to the left of them – was shortly followed by the news that Walmart isn’t advertising on the platform.

A company spokesperson told CNBC that Walmart – which has an eye-watering market cap of $415.31 billion – had found “other platforms” to “better reach its customers”.

Walmart joins a myriad of multi-national companies to pull advertising from Twitter since Musk’s chaotic takeover of the platform just over a year ago, after which he lost 50 of the company’s top 100 advertisers almost immediately.

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Audi, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Ford, Wells & Fargo, and Disney are among the cohort of recognizable brands that no longer purchase ad space on the platform.

Threads Makes a Comeback

Threads had a bizarre start to life, becoming the fastest app to reach 100 million downloads in mid-July before seeing a huge decline in daily active users after its first week live on app stores.

However, signs of recovery are beginning to show. According to data compiled by Apptopia and seen by Techcrunch, Threads daily download figures jumped from 320,000 in early to mid-November to around 620,000 on November 23.

Although this is down on one million-per-day downloads Threads was accruing in September, the Meta app is now outpacing X. Since September, Zuckerberg’s brainchild has received a huge 41 million downloads compared to X’s 27 million.

However, few users have fully defected from X to Twitter, and the platform still dwarves Threads when it comes to the overall user base – the former has over 500 million users, while the latter has just under 100 million.

European Threads Expansion Incoming

The uptick in Threads downloads couldn’t come at a better time for Meta, which is planning to make the app available in Europe at some point in December, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Meta and the EU have been at loggerheads for some time over the company’s inclination to take EU citizens’ data overseas and process it outside of the bounds of the Union’s borders.

However, it seems that European users will only be able to use the app “for consumption” meaning that, upon launch, they won’t be able to make their profile or make their own posts. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start – and they’ll count to those download figures all the same.

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Written by:
Aaron Drapkin is's Content Manager. He has been researching and writing about technology, politics, and society in print and online publications since graduating with a Philosophy degree from the University of Bristol six years ago. Aaron's focus areas include VPNs, cybersecurity, AI and project management software. He has been quoted in the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Daily Mail, Computer Weekly, Cybernews, Lifewire, HR News and the Silicon Republic speaking on various privacy and cybersecurity issues, and has articles published in Wired, Vice, Metro, ProPrivacy, The Week, and covering a wide range of topics.
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