In response to user feedback, Instagram’s Threads will now let users turn off automatic sharing of their Threads posts to other apps, including Instagram and Facebook — a move that had not gone down well with Threads users. Hoping to gain more traction and interest in its Twitter/X rival, Meta in late August began displaying a carousel of suggested Threads on other Meta-owned apps.
But many Threads users were angry that they had been opted in by default to have their Threads posts shared externally, particularly because their audience on Threads was quite different from the real-life friends and family they connected with on Facebook and Instagram. Some even threatened to leave Threads if their posts reached their family on Facebook — an audience they demanded to keep separate. Others complained about the qualify of the suggested Threads, which often seemed to be those “designed to get comments,” or odd clickbait lacking context, as some put it.
By leveraging its billions of users across Instagram and Facebook, Threads could potentially grow its user base further, or re-engage lapsed users. It’s an old playbook for Meta, which often leverages cross-app sharing to drive growth for its products, as it did for Reels, for example, as well as messaging with the introduction of cross-app communication between Messenger and Instagram in 2020.
Now, Meta has seemingly given in to those complaints with the addition of a new privacy option that allows users to turn this automatic sharing off.
From the two-dash menu at the top right of your profile page on Threads, you can browse to “Privacy” and then “Suggesting posts on other apps.” Here, you’re able to toggle off Threads sharing to Instagram and Facebook individually.
It’s worth noting the sharing feature remains opt-out, not opt-in, and was not publicly announced by the Threads team — both being an indication of how far Meta will go to “growth hack” its way to success with the Threads app. At launch, the app capitalized on its built-in Instagram audience to rapidly onboard millions of users in a matter of days by suggesting to friends when someone they knew joined Threads and by automatically following people you were already connected with on Instagram. As a result, Threads became the fastest app to date to reach 150 million downloads — 5.5x faster than Pokémon Go, which held the prior record. And despite the numerous reports that it had lost steam in the months since its July launch, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Threads had reached just under 100 million monthly users three months after its launch.
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