Threads, the messaging app created by Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, has added a new opt-out setting that allows users to prevent their posts from automatically crossposting to Facebook and Instagram. The change comes as Threads looks to differentiate itself amid growing competition.
Previously, any content users posted to Threads was automatically shared to their Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories. But Threads has introduced an option in settings to turn off crossposting and keep posts within the Threads app only.
Systrom positioned the new opt-out as giving users more control over their privacy. He said Threads aims to be a comfortable space for people to share intimate, private content with close friends without worrying it will be broadcasted publicly.
The messaging app is featuring the opt-out setting prominently in onboarding flows. “We want to make sure people know about it,” said Systrom. He acknowledged some users were surprised to find Threads posts automatically appearing on Instagram and Facebook.
Threads faces stiff competition in private messaging against apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp and Telegram. Providing privacy controls could help differentiate Threads in an increasingly crowded market.
The app has struggled to gain significant traction since launching in 2019. Systrom hoped Threads’ auto-sharing to Instagram would help drive growth. But that integration may have deterred some users looking for a more private experience.
Giving users the ability to prevent crossposting splits the difference — allowing those who want distribution on Instagram and Facebook to have it, while letting others keep things exclusive to Threads. It provides more granular control over privacy.
The opt-out also helps Threads assert its independence from Instagram as parent company Meta reorganizes its messaging services. Systrom has reportedly pushed back on Meta’s efforts to consolidate threads into its broader messaging infrastructure. The auto-sharing toggle furthers Threads’ differentiation as a stand-alone app.