Tracking Meta's Threads' Launch

Social platforms come and go, but it’s rare that we get to see one from a company the size of Meta. And it’s even rarer when we can start tracking it from before it even launches.

Originally slated for launch on Thursday morning, Threads (known internally as Project 92 or Barcelona), is Meta’s answer to the chaos happening at Twitter. It’s under the Instagram family of apps and integrates fairly seamlessly, taking just one tap to sign up with your existing Instagram account. Among being a very basic Twitter clone, Meta have promised full interoperability with ActivityPub, the protocol that powers, among other apps, Mastodon.


Earlier on Wednesday, Meta accidentally launched the Threads web app on, a view-only version of Threads intended to be viewed when sharing a link to an account or post from the official app.

Who was on this pre-release version of Threads? Celebrities and brand account managers were invited early, with the offer to “interact with other top creators and with Meta execs like Mark Zuckerberg and Adam Mosseri”, alongside other Meta employees who were of course part of building the app.

Access to this web app was taken down shortly after it started doing the rounds, but I managed to reverse engineer the requests it was making for user profiles and set up a small script to track the top 50 followed Instagram accounts follower accounts plus a few others.


For the data below I’ve:

  • removed any accounts that are yet to sign up to Threads
  • added some minimal processing to remove some anomalies caused by issues such as my script restarting, so it’s been re-interpolated to a minute to minute scale

I’m no data scientist, but this has been collected with the upmost care and respect for accuracy.


For people just skimming, here is the data for every user I’ve tracked from six hours before the launch to a day after it. Below I’ll go into some interesting users more in-depth.


Things started out mellow, with Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) only having a humble 1,761 followers. He slowly grew to 2,136 until pre-launch.

After launch, he gained 1.6 million followers in a single day.


@instagram is the most followed account on Instagram. It also seems to be the most followed on Threads, which makes sense as the app lets you automatically import your Instagram following into Threads during the signup process.

In the first day, @instagram reached 3.5 million followers.


There are some cases where accounts that didn’t join during the early access period, such as @selenagomez. You can see that she joined mid-launch day and since a lot of users already following her had turned on auto-follow once an account they follow joins Threads, her followers instantly spiked.


I’ve always wondered what it looks like when a social network opens its gates to the public, so it’s been very interesting to see and visualise this with Threads, especially because it’s been arguably a very successful launch.

If you’ve enjoyed the limited examples above, I’ve put together a simple viewer at where you can browse data for individual users. I also plan to open source the dataset I’ve collected unless Meta objects, but this looks so good for them I don’t know why they would.

Please smash that follow button either on Mastodon, Posts, Bluesky, Twitter and of course Threads to be updated on when I do that, I would also appreciate the support!

If you’re interested in more stuff like this, feel free to add this blog to your RSS reader too.

I’m William, a 21 y/o software engineer from the 🇬🇧 who loves consumer social. You might know me from projects such as Wash Your Lyrics.