July 21, 2024
Meta tests cross-posting from Facebook to its Twitter/X competitor, Threads

Threads may be about to get another big boost from parent company Meta…at least in terms of sources of new content. The company has been spotted testing a cross-posting feature that would allow Facebook users to post to both platforms at the same time, using the same feature that was originally available for cross-posting from Facebook to Instagram.

The company confirmed a limited test has begun, but is restricted to iOS and does not include the EU. The feature will allow users to share both text and link posts from Facebook to Threads, a rep for Meta said.

The addition could help content creators who regularly post photos or other media along with text updates from the hassles of having to post in multiple places. It also ties Threads more closely to Meta’s larger app ecosystem, which could potentially give Threads’ app a boost, if the test rolls out more broadly. Today, Meta’s family of apps reaches 3.98 billion users. Even if only a sliver of those on Facebook used the cross-posting feature for Threads, it could still dramatically increase the number of posts available on the app.

Facebook added the option to cross-post to Instagram in 2021, after earlier offering the ability to cross-post Stories between the two platforms. With last summer’s launch of its Twitter/X competitor, Threads, the company leveraged its other, larger social networks to rapidly grow the new service’s user base.

Initially, new Threads users were automatically connected with others they knew or followed on Instagram, allowing the network to scale quickly after launching, topping a record-setting 100 million users within five days of its arrival, and soon achieving one-fifth of the weekly active user base of Twitter/X. As of Meta’s most recent quarter, Threads reached more than 130 million monthly active users, thanks in part to how the company showcased popular Threads within the main feeds of both Facebook and Instagram.

The test of the Facebook cross-posting feature was recently spotted in the wild on Facebook’s iOS app, as in this example here shared by Threads user @whimchic (Ljiljana Grujicic). When she tested the feature, the post was automatically published to both accounts associated with her same profile, but didn’t include any account information from Facebook or a flag that it was cross-posted. The latter could be a concern for someone who uses their full name on Facebook but a more anonymous handle on a more public platform like Threads.

This isn’t the first time Threads has toyed with cross-posting. Earlier, users on Threads were upset to find that their posts were being automatically shared on Facebook and Instagram — where their audiences were different from those who followed them on Threads. Often, users connect with family and friends on Facebook and Instagram but maintain a public persona or talk about their work or political interests on Threads, similar to how they used Twitter. In response to user feedback, Meta soon added an option that allowed users to turn off automatic sharing by default and the backlash died down.

Cross-posting wasn’t the only area where Facebook is testing new features. Grujicic also shared a photo on LinkedIn that showed a test of a “Write with AI” writing assistant that could help users craft their posts.

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