NEW YORK, July 27 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms (META.O) executives are heavily focused on boosting retention on their new Twitter rival Threads, after the app lost more than half of its users in the weeks following its buzzy launch, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees on Thursday.
Retention of users on the text-based app was better than executives had expected, though it was “not perfect,” said Zuckerberg, speaking at an internal company town hall, the audio of which was heard by Reuters.
“Obviously, if you have more than 100 million people sign up, ideally it would be awesome if all of them or even half of them stuck around. We’re not there yet,” he said.
Zuckerberg said he considered the drop-off “normal” and expected retention to grow as the company adds more features to the app, including a desktop version and search functionality.
Meta is looking at adding more “retention-driving hooks” to entice users to return to the app, like “making sure people who are on the Instagram app can see important Threads,” said Chief Product Officer Chris Cox.
A company spokesperson declined to comment on the meeting.
The executives’ comments came a day after Meta wowed investors with a rosy revenue growth forecast, a sign of a comeback for a company that faced deep skepticism over its hefty spending on the metaverse last year as ad sales plummeted.
The disclosure sent Meta’s shares surging 8% on Thursday.
Zuckerberg told employees on the call that he believed the company’s work on the augmented and virtual reality technology that would power the metaverse was “not massively ahead of schedule, but on track.”
Meta, he added, needed to get started investing in that work ahead of rivals such as Apple (AAPL.O), Google and Microsoft (MSFT.O), given their years of experience building operating systems for existing products.
“That way, we have all the tools ready for when this is ready for prime time,” he said, predicting that mass adoption of metaverse technologies would take place in the 2030s.
Zuckerberg and Cox also highlighted the company’s release of an artificial intelligence model called Llama 2 this month, which it made freely available for commercial use to any developer whose services had fewer than 700 million users.
The model has received more than 150,000 download requests in the week since its release, Cox said.
Responding to a question on the proposed “cage match” against Elon Musk, Zuckerberg said he was “not sure if it’s going to come together.”
Reporting by Katie Paul in New York and Sheila Dang in Austin; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.