Threads Expands Into Sports Scores But Still Lags In Real-Time Features

Threads is inching closer to Twitter's sports-focused user base with a new feature that displays live scores directly in the app. Starting with NBA games, searches for team names and hashtags will now surface a panel showing results from the latest match-up. Clicking a team logo also pulls up scores for their most recent contest or upcoming fixture.

The score updates are a smart way for Threads to start attracting the huge audiences that sports content draws on Twitter. Leagues, teams and players have amassed massive followings by giving fans a place to get real-time scoring alerts and join in-game discussions. With scores now integrated into searches, Threads potentially gives some of those conversations a new home.

However, one major issue still holds the feature back - Threads refuses to display search results in real-time. This cautious approach aims to curb the spread of problematic posts but limits the platform's sports appeal. Twitter owns the live experience because searching instantly surfaces new score posts and comments. Over on Threads, search is slower and more moderated.

This hesitancy to enable real-time discovery stems from CEO Adam Mosseri's view that it could facilitate harmful spam and misinformation going viral. As a private company, Threads is also free to more heavily curate content compared to Twitter under Elon Musk. But avoiding real-time functionality may restrict Threads from competing in some of social media's most discussed topics.

Sports, gaming, music and food dominate conversations on Twitter according to their own data. If Threads users can't get up-to-the-second scores or join live game threads, it will be tough for the platform to become the main community for these engaged groups. They likely don't care much about Twitter's ownership controversies - what draws them is instant access to discussions unfolding minute by minute. Threads now shows scores, but the inability to instantly search and comment on live action still holds it back.

There's also the strategic choice to de-emphasize political talk, which could inhibit growth. Twitter remains the place to be when major news breaks thanks in part to real-time search visibility. As long as Threads holds off enabling this type of discovery, it risks missing out on potential new members during big events. Changing course while still achieving civility goals would be a challenge but perhaps necessary for Threads to reach the next level.

One positive is Threads' fast early adoption - it reached 130 million monthly users eight months after launch, while Twitter has stalled at 250 million daily actives for over a year. However, Threads' growth also seems to be slowing lately.

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