Threads Adds ‘Recent’ Filter For Search Results

Threads is taking another step towards becoming a replacement for Twitter, by adding a chronological filter within search results in the app.

As Threads Chief Adam Mosseri notes, Threads is rolling out a “Recent” tab in Search, which will enable users to view search results listed by most recent responses.

Which is a critical update for following real-time events, like sports, and right now, X (formerly Twitter) still remains the best place for getting up-to-the-minute updates on trending and in-progress events.

The Threads team has been hesitant to include chronological discovery elements due to the potential for spammers and scammers to then use such to their advantage. Trending hashtags, for example, tend to get hijacked, and as Meta looks to take a different approach, and avoid some of the pitfalls of other apps, it’s avoided implementing these elements.

Indeed, Mosseri himself explained this late last year:

 Having a comprehensive list of *every* post with a specific word in chronological order inevitably means spammers and other bad actors pummel the view with content by simply adding the relevant words or tags.”

Yet, even so, real-time discovery remains an important element, so much so that even with these hesitations, Threads actually did release chronological search, by accident, in January this year.

Threads search filtering

So despite its concerns, it has been developing the option for some time. And seemingly now, the Threads team is more comfortable releasing this update, which, presumably, now has more measures in place to limit these kinds of misuse, if that’s possible.

One of those considerations is misinformation, and the spread of false reports, which Threads is now looking to counter by implementing independent fact-checking for the platform. Up till now, Threads has been included within Instagram’s fact-checking remit, but Threads will now get it’s own specific focus, and maybe that’s the step that’s given the Threads team more assurance on this front.

Or maybe Meta just knows that, either way, it has to release more real-time discovery elements if it wants to make Threads into a billion user app.

Because while Threads is growing, and is now up to 150 million monthly active users, its momentum has slowed significantly.

You can see that in the download charts. Back in December, Threads was the 6th most downloaded app worldwide, with 28 million total downloads for the month, but in April, it’s dropped to 10th on the chart, according to data from AppFigures.

Appfigures download chart

21 million downloads is still a lot, but based on its growth data, Threads had been gaining users at a rate of around 18.5 million per month up till February, and that growth has effectively halved since.

So while Threads is still adding users at a relatively strong rate, it is slowing. Which is likely why it’s now looking to implement alternative engagement options.

The same goes for Trending Topics, another feature that Threads was initially hesitant about, but has now added in, though Meta is still trying to stay away from divisive political and news content, in order to reduce angst and argument in the app.

And in Mosseri’s view, elements like this won’t actually add much either way.

As he noted back in February:

My honest take is that requested features like lists, an edit button, a following feed, trending, and hashtags are all good to build, but none noticeably grow Threads or Threads usage. We’ll continue to build them because it’s good to build features that your most engaged users are excited about, but it’s hard to prioritize them when the measurable impact is negligible.”

Maybe he’s right, but it does seem like Threads is now looking to add in options like this to stimulate growth. And when you also consider that the key holdouts on X are communities like sports fans, who are looking to comment and engage around major events in real-time, it would appear to be a more important element that Mosseri suggests.

Adding a real-time filter for search leans into this, and while Threads is still not quite a direct replacement for what Twitter was, the announcement does also seem to begrudgingly acknowledge that this is actually a key element in the platform’s growth.