Meta has announced that Threads, its photo and video messaging app, will allow users to delete accounts starting in December. Previously, deleting Threads meant losing your connected Instagram account too.
Launched in 2019, Threads gained quick adoption, surpassing 100 million signups within 5 days. But it also drew criticism for lacking key features like account deletion.
While Threads leverages Instagram connectivity, the platforms are separate products. According to Meta’s Michel Protti, independent account deletion posed major technical challenges initially.
In the interim, alternatives like deactivation, privatizing accounts, or removing threads gave some control. But full deletion remained a highly sought option.
Threads’ rocky start also saw active users plummet nearly 50% just months after launch. Missing desktop access and other expected features likely contributed to the drop.
Meta responded by launching a Threads web version and additions like post sharing to Instagram DMs. It also plans to roll out search capabilities.
The upcoming deletion option addresses a primary complaint. It comes as Threads marks one year of competing with ascendant rivals like X amid calls for more user control.
How exactly will Threads retain and grow its audience? Tighter Instagram integration helps, but chasing trendy features may not be the answer.
Refocusing on its original intimate sharing purpose could better distinguish Threads in the increasingly crowded social space.
Of course, Meta must also ensure full compliance with privacy laws and practices. Protecting user data should take precedence as new functionality rolls out.
For now, granting true account deletion is a positive step toward giving users more power over their presence.
But Threads’ long-term viability will hinge on sticking to its strengths rather than trying to mimic hot new apps. With its owner’s resources, Threads can forge its own lane if Meta shows commitment beyond flash-in-the-pan hype.
Giving users more say over their participation, including account deletion, is one way to build that trust.