Instagram Threads Implements ‘Rate Limits’ to Counter Bots: Following in Twitter’s Footsteps

Instagram Threads, the Twitter alternative, has encountered a wave of challenges just 10 days after its launch. In response to growing reports of crypto-shilling bots and spam attacks, the social media platform has been compelled to implement rate limits. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, made the announcement about the introduction of rate limits on the Threads app on Monday, July 17.

Mosseri explained that the surge in spam attacks necessitated tighter measures, such as rate limits, which could unintentionally restrict active users (false positives). He encouraged users caught up in these protections to reach out for assistance. Some users expressed frustration, stating that they had spent considerable time blocking bots promoting gambling and crypto websites on the app.

Interestingly, Twitter CEO Elon Musk responded to a screenshot of Mosseri’s announcement on Twitter, mocking the similarity between Instagram Threads and Twitter by stating, “lmaooo copy.” Musk’s comment alludes to the ongoing debate about Meta, a company behind the social media platform Meta, which Musk claims has essentially copied Twitter. Consequently, Twitter has allegedly contemplated legal action against Meta.

Twitter’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, penned a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, accusing the company of hiring former Twitter employees who may possess access to trade secrets and confidential information. Spiro’s letter emphasizes Twitter’s intent to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights and demands that Meta ceases the use of any Twitter trade secrets or highly confidential information.

It is worth noting that Twitter itself recently implemented strict rate limits for its users due to excessive data scraping by external organizations. Verified Twitter users are now restricted to 15,000 posts per day, while unverified accounts, both new and existing, have caps at 1,500 and 1,000 posts per day, respectively.

Despite initially garnering over 100 million users within a week of its launch, Instagram Threads has encountered obstacles in sustaining high levels of engagement. Olivia Moore, a partner at crypto venture capital firm a16z, observed that daily active users on Threads dropped by 40% just one week after its launch, with the average daily time per user declining threefold.

Moore suggests that directly importing users from Instagram to Threads creates a misalignment for a Twitter-like app. By linking user accounts to their real-life identities on Instagram, it discourages the anonymity and fan pages that Twitter is known for, thus making it difficult to replicate the unique social and interest graphs that Twitter has built over a decade.

In conclusion, Instagram Threads’ implementation of rate limits in response to bots and spam attacks underscores the challenges faced by the platform. Twitter’s criticism and legal threats against Meta highlight the intense competition between social media players. Despite its rapid onboarding of users, Threads’ struggle to maintain engagement signals a disconnect between its user base and the core features that made Twitter popular.