The White House recently entered the realm of social media by launching accounts on Meta’s Threads service for President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the first lady, the second gentleman, and the White House itself. This move not only expands the White House’s online presence but also demonstrates a strategic shift towards engaging with the public through alternative platforms. The decision to join Threads is particularly significant given the recent controversies surrounding Elon Musk’s X, which prompted major advertisers to pause their spending on the platform.
Meta’s Threads service was launched in July as a direct competitor to Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter. The app garnered significant attention, with over 30 million sign-ups within hours of its debut and over 100 million sign-ups by mid-July. Although Adam Mosseri, the head of Meta’s Instagram service, previously stated that Threads wouldn’t prioritize news and political discourse, many former Twitter users have flocked to the app to share and stay up to date on current events.
President Biden’s Threads account gained substantial traction, amassing 2 million followers within just one hour of its debut. This rapid growth highlights the potential of Threads as a platform for political figures to connect with a wide audience. By embracing this alternative social media service, the White House is signaling its determination to meet people where they are and bridge the gap between politicians and citizens.
The decision to join Threads comes in the wake of Elon Musk’s divisive comments on his X platform. Musk propagated an antisemitic conspiracy theory to his 163 million listed followers, leading to widespread condemnation from the White House. White House officials rebuked Musk for his “anti-Semitic rhetoric,” prompting major advertisers such as Apple and Disney to pause their spending on X. Musk, however, defended himself without apologizing or retracting his statements.
The launch of White House accounts on Threads signifies a strategic effort to expand political engagement and access. By maintaining a presence on this emerging platform, the administration signals its commitment to meeting the public where they are most active online. Meta’s Threads service offers the White House a unique opportunity to connect with millions of users who are seeking news and political discussions in a changing social media landscape.
The White House’s decision to join Meta’s Threads service is a bold step towards expanding its online presence and engaging with the public on alternative platforms. The rapid growth of President Biden’s Threads account demonstrates the potential of this emerging social media service as a platform for political figures to connect with a broad audience. By embracing Threads, the White House seizes the opportunity to bridge the gap between political leaders and citizens, setting a precedent for future political engagement on alternative social media platforms.