Have Threads badges made my Instagram account valuable?

11 July 2023

Mark Zuckerberg's Instagram profile displaying his Threads badge

Mark Zuckerberg’s Instagram profile displaying his Threads badge.

The launch last week of Meta’s Twitter-like micro-blogging service Threads has been a riotous success, if the one-hundred million sign-ups in its first five days are any indication. Threads seems to have been the much wanted breath of fresh air micro-bloggers were waiting for. The Meta made app not only offers ease of use, but comes largely unencumbered by the baggage of Twitter, or the confusion some people have experienced with Mastodon, another micro-blogging contender.

Of course it is early days. Threads is not completely without its drawbacks. Privacy advocates have voiced concerns about some of the user data Threads is collecting. And compared to, say, Twitter, many features micro-bloggers are used to — hashtags for example — remain absent, though it sounds like more functionality is on the way.

Introducing the Threads badge

One feature however that may have surprised many Instagram users after signing up for Threads, is the appearance of a number on their Instagram account, situated just below their username. The image above, a screen grab of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Instagram page, is an example of what I mean. From what I can gather, the symbol that looks a little like @1, is called a badge, or a Threads badge, though, in some cases, it could just as easily be called a badge of honour.

In short the badge, which can only be seen on the Instagram app, but not the website, tells the world what number member you are of Threads. It also links to your Threads page, and anyone tapping on the badge will be taken there, if they are a member themselves. It is of little surprise that Zuckerberg, as CEO of Meta, scored the surely much coveted badge number one. But aside from letting everyone know how quickly, or not, that you became a Threads member, might the badge have other value?

As in financial value? I mean, who wouldn’t want to have Threads badge number one adorning their Instagram page? While it is fair to say the chances of acquiring this particular badge number are pretty much non-existent, might other badge numbers become something people would be prepared to pay top dollar for?

Speculating on Threads badges, really?

Speculating on Threads badge numbers however would be fraught with difficulty. For one, Threads needs to take hold as a serious micro-blogging player, for the badges to accrue any value. As I said earlier, there has been a rush to sign up for Threads, but how many people will remain active on the platform long term? If the initial burst of enthusiasm wanes, Meta might decide to close Threads down, rendering the badges worthless.

But that’s not to say there might still be interest in the badges as a commodity. While the ultra-low badge numbers are probably in the hands of those who will not let them go, come what may, there may be people potentially interested in trying to acquire double, or three figure numbers. Or so-called “golden numbers” that may be higher, but are possessed of some subjective value to a would-be buyer, or even a Threads badge number speculator.

666, anyone? Or perhaps a year of birth? Or possibility any relatively low number that makes the owner look like they are an early adopter. But while someone may be interested in buying a particular Threads badge, that doesn’t mean the sale process would be straightforward. Even if the price was right. And the transfer were to evade Meta’s notice. Anyone selling their in demand Threads badge number would have a few things to think about.

Beware the pitfalls…

They would be giving up both their Instagram and Threads accounts, and may lose their possibly cherished username, and followers, in the process. While an arrangement might be reached with the buyer to give up the username, there’s the risk it might be snatched by someone else, if the seller doesn’t move quickly to re-secure it. The seller would also need to get their original followers on board at their new Instagram and Threads pages, something not necessarily straightforward.

Some sort of legally binding written agreement would also need to be in place to ensure each party to the transaction did what was required of them, at the requisite times. Buyer transfers money, seller surrenders account passwords, things like that. Perhaps a brokering service to cater for such a transaction could be engaged to oversee the sale. Maybe there’s a business opportunity for brokers, if the sale of Threads badge numbers becomes commonplace. Oh, the possibilities…

Or is it all a pipe dream?

But the prospect of a marketplace for badge numbers emerging, is likewise, pie in the sky possibility. That’s too bad, some of us might have been millionaires for a minute there, at least in the recesses of imagination. But also read this Mashable article by Sam Haysom. See that image as you start to scroll down. The image bearing the somewhat ominous notification, stating “this temporary badge lets your followers know that you’re on Threads and sends them to your profile if they have the app.”

What? The Threads badges are only temporary? Where’s the fun (and millions) in that? If then you do wish to cash in on your Threads badge number, move quickly. And whatever you do, don’t tell the buyer the badges are temporary…


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