A new social media app called Threads has launched today (Thursday, July 6) providing an alternative to Twitter.

The app, created by Facebook and Instagram owners Meta, went live in the UK at midnight on Thursday.

CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, claims 10 million users signed up to the platform within its first seven hours.

He pitched the app as a "friendly" rival to Twitter, which was bought by Elon Musk in October last year.

The National: Mark Zuckerberg has pitched Threads as a 'friendly' rival to TwitterMark Zuckerberg has pitched Threads as a 'friendly' rival to Twitter (Image: Nick Wass/AP/PA)

How to sign up for Threads

Threads is an app that can be downloaded for free on the Apple and Google Play app stores.

It allows you to sign up using your Instagram login, and you’ll be able to follow all the accounts you already follow on Instagram on Threads automatically as they join, The Guardian reports.

You can send posts of up to 500 characters, including images, gifs, and videos of up to five minutes in length.

Additionally, you can quote a thread similar to quote tweeting, but there is not a direct message function.

Will Threads be a threat to Twitter?

When asked on Threads whether the app will be "bigger than Twitter", Mr Zuckerberg said: "It'll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it.

"Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn't nailed it. Hopefully we will."

He also said keeping the platform "friendly... will ultimately be the key to its success" BBC News reports.

In response to this Mr Musk said: "It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter, than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram."

Earlier this week, social media consultant and industry analyst Matt Navarra told the PA news agency the app is the “first credible threat” to Twitter.

He said: “I think that Threads is the first real, credible threat to Elon Musk’s Twitter.

“Users of Twitter are desperately looking for an exit from the platform to escape, and the existing options of rivals are fairly limited.

“They all have the same big problem, which is you have to start from zero – it’s a network that is completely new."