AN alternative to Twitter has been launched, giving the ailing platform some serious competition which may finally put it out of our misery.

Threads is based on the popular Instagram platform, giving it a large user base even as it launched. Instagram is owned by Mark Zuckerberg's Meta, the parent company which also owns Facebook and WhatsApp, so those fleeing Twitter for Threads may merely be exchanging one platform owned by a billionaire seeking to monetise your personal data in order to add to his already vast fortune for a platform owned by another billionaire seeking to monetise your personal data in order to add to his already vast fortune.

READ MORE: How to sign up for Threads as alternative to Twitter launches app

Since being taken over by Elon Musk, Twitter has gradually become unusable. Although widely used by politicians and journalists, the platform always had more than its fair share of trolls and outright nastiness, creating an unpleasant environment for many users, particularly women and members of minority communities. This became exponentially worse after Musk bought Twitter, trashing the platform's already threadbare moderation team and reinstating the accounts of those previously banned for racism, misogyny and hate speech.

Twitter quickly became a toxic hellscape of unfettered abuse, conspiracy nonsense and vile opinions. It was always bad for the mental health of even the most psychologically robust individuals, but of late it has become an exercise in masochistic emotional and psychological self-harm. Twitter has become the place to go if you enjoy wallowing in racism, misogyny, anti-LGBT+ hate speech and the kind of far right conspiracy theory idiocy you can find on late night GBeebies TV. It's long past time to abandon Twitter and leave it to the moon howlers.

The National:

However what has really proven the final straw for many Twitter users is Musk's attempts to monetise the platform by turning verified accounts into a subscription service and then pushing tweets from these accounts to the top of users' feeds, with the effect of filling the average user's feed with spam from accounts which have paid a fee to Musk. He then made an already dire situation even worse by limiting the number of tweets an account can view in a single day. Since you now have to scroll through hundreds of spam tweets in order to find anything that interests you, it's not long before the daily limit is reached.

Twitter has also blocked third party apps. I used to use a plug in on the blogging platform WordPress which automatically published new blog posts to my Twitter account, but this is now blocked, so I would have to log into Twitter and post the link manually, only for it to be drowned out in a sea of spam and hate tweets. It's hardly worth the bother.

Threads has reported millions of new users on its first day, and may yet live up to its hype as the “Twitter killer”.

READ MORE: Ten million rush to join Meta’s new 'Twitter-killer' app Threads

In its heyday Twitter was a vital campaigning tool for the independence movement, but it has outlived its usefulness and seems doomed to go the same way as MySpace, another once ubiquitous social media platform which is now defunct. Due to the overwhelmingly anti-independence slant of Scotland's traditional media, an alternative to Twitter is much needed. It's far too early to say whether Threads can fulfill that need, but the early signs are promising.

I've not used Threads yet myself, although I did register an account in order to reserve my user name. Unfortunately the new platform does not have a desktop version as yet and my disabilities mean that I'm unable to type on a mobile phone. Perhaps the platform will remedy this omission in the near future.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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