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Lucy Oleschuk
Level 31

Threads, Instagram, TikTok: Top Social Media Apps and What Technologies Stand Behind Them

Published in the Random group
Threads… 10 million signups in the first 7 seven hours. Over 70 million signups in less than 2 days. The Meta's new social platform breaks the records as one of the most successful app launches ever. However Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg says its new social media platform, Threads, has lost more than half its users. So, let's discover whether the hype is worth it and what technologies stand behind Threads (and other top apps). Threads, Instagram, TikTok: Top Social Media Apps and What Technologies Stand Behind Them - 1

What Are The Tech Stack Behind Threads?

Threads, a new social media app, was launched on 5th July and became the fastest-growing app in history — it achieved more than 100 million users within 5 days, thus, outperforming even the trending ChatGPT. According to Mark Zuckerberg, Threads is claimed to “create a new experience for Instagram users in the way they share text", allowing users to respond to, repost, and quote each other's posts. Seems familiar? Yes, there are a lot of talks that Threads is quite similar to Twitter. But can this brand new text-based surpass and even replace Twitter? Time will tell. Today, we're interested in what tech Threads run on. Well, like many other mobile apps, Threads leveraged the technologies offered by Apple's iOS and Google's Android. The app was developed using Swift for iOS and Java along with Kotlin for Android. The creators of Threads are also planning to make the app compatible with ActivityPub, the open social networking protocol established by W3C. This technology would make Threads compatible with other apps that support the ActivityPub as well, such as Mastodon and WordPress.

What Technologies Are Behind Other Social Media Apps?

Below, we are going to explore the most widely used apps and the underlying technologies they rely on. The top 10 apps in the world in 2023 by number of downloads include:
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Facebook
  • WhatsApp Messenger
  • Snapchat
  • Telegram
  • Shopee
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Spotify
  • Zoom Cloud Meetings


Instagram is the world's most famous social media platform where people can share their photos and videos. The app has over a billion of active users and is available on iOS and Android devices. Mobile app development:
  • Instagram's mobile apps for iOS and Android were primarily built using native development technologies. For iOS, the app was written in Objective-C initially and later transitioned to Swift. For Android, the app was developed using Java and then gradually adopted Kotlin.
Databases and storage:
  • PostgreSQL: Instagram uses PostgreSQL as one of its primary databases to store various types of data, including user information and posts.
  • Cassandra: To handle the massive scale and high throughput of data, Instagram employs Cassandra, a distributed NoSQL database, for certain operations.
  • Redis: Instagram uses Redis for caching frequently accessed data, which helps improve the platform's performance and response times.
Infrastructure and Tools:
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): Instagram relies on AWS for cloud-based infrastructure, storage, and content delivery to ensure high availability and scalability.
  • CDN: A Content Delivery Network is used to efficiently serve images and media files to users across the globe, reducing load times.
  • RabbitMQ: Instagram uses RabbitMQ as a message broker to manage message queues and facilitate communication between different services.
Machine Learning and AI:
  • Instagram also utilizes machine learning algorithms for various features, such as content recommendation, image recognition, and spam detection.


TikTok is a social media platform that is all the rage among Gen Z. It's a short-form video-sharing app that allows people all across the globe to create and share short videos with others. Mobile app development:
  • Just like Instagram, TikTok's mobile app for iOS was written in Objective-C and later transitions were made to Swift, Apple's modern programming language for iOS app development.
  • For Android, the TikTok app was developed using Java and later adopted Kotlin.
  • TikTok utilizes such databases as MongoDB, SQL, Cassandra, and MySQL.
Cloud Services:
  • TikTok uses cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), to support its backend infrastructure, storage, and computing needs.
Machine Learning and AI:
  • TikTok incorporates machine learning and AI technologies for various features, such as personalized content recommendations, video content filtering, and user engagement analytics.


Facebook is a social platform with over 2 billion active users. Facebook is not only a popular mobile app but also one of the most popular websites on the internet. Programming languages:
  • PHP: Facebook's backend was originally built using PHP, and a large portion of the platform's codebase is still in PHP.
  • Hack: Facebook developed Hack, a variant of PHP that includes static typing and other enhancements, which is used for many parts of the platform to improve performance and maintainability.
  • MySQL: Facebook initially used MySQL as its primary database management system for storing user data and other information.
  • Cassandra: Facebook later developed and implemented Cassandra, a distributed NoSQL database, for handling massive amounts of data across multiple data centers.
Infrastructure and tools:
  • Hadoop: Facebook uses Hadoop for processing and analyzing large-scale data, enabling data-driven decision-making.
  • Presto: Presto is an open-source distributed SQL query engine used at Facebook for interactive analytics.
  • Hive: Hive is a data warehousing and SQL-like query language used for batch processing and analysis of data.
  • Thrift: Created by Facebook, Thrift is a framework for scalable cross-language services development used for inter-service communication.
Mobile app development:
  • Facebook's mobile apps are primarily built using native technologies, such as Java/Kotlin for Android and Objective-C/Swift for iOS.


Telegram is a cloud-based messaging app that was created using a combination of various technologies to support its mobile apps, server infrastructure, and other components. Telegram is available for free on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, macOS, and Linux. Programming languages:
  • The Windows Telegram desktop application's core components and server-side functionality were developed using C++.
  • The macOS Telegram application combines Objective-C, C, and Swift.
  • For iOS app development, Telegram also utilized Objective-C and later switched to Swift.
  • Telegram's Android app is built, using Java, C, and C++ as the primary languages.
Web version:
  • The Telegram web version is built using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Web version combines NodeJS and AngularJS as the frontend and backend frameworks.
  • Bot API:
    • Telegram offers a Bot API that allows developers to create bots to interact with users and perform various tasks. The API is accessible using HTTP-based requests.

    WhatsApp Messenger

    WhatsApp is a messaging app for phones aimed to let users send text, audio, and video messages for free. Almost for 15 consequitive years, WhatsApp stays one of the most popular messaging apps, with more than 1 billion users worldwide. Mobile app development:
    • For iOS, the app was written in Objective-C and later transitioned to Swift. For Android, the app was developed using Java.
    Frontend development:
    • WhatsApp's user interface on mobile devices was created using UIKit for iOS and Android UI components.
    Backend development:
    • Erlang: WhatsApp's backend was built using Erlang which allowed WhatsApp to handle large numbers of concurrent connections and provide real-time messaging efficiently.
    • Ejabberd: WhatsApp's messaging infrastructure is based on the open-source XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) server called Ejabberd.
    Databases and storage:
    • Not so long ago, WhatsApp became part of Facebook and integrated with some of Facebook's existing technologies and infrastructure, including database systems like MySQL or other NoSQL databases.
    Voice calling:
    • WhatsApp introduced voice calling features, which were implemented using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technologies.


    Snapchat is also a messaging app created to help users send images, videos, and text. The app become popular because of its numerous filters, which can help users change the appearance of their images and videos. Mobile app development:
    • Snapchat's mobile app for iOS was initially built using Objective-C for iOS (and later transitioned to Swift).
    • For Android, the Snapchat app was developed using Java and later adopted Kotlin.
    Databases and storage:
    • Snapchat uses such frameworks as NoSQL and MongoDB.
    Frameworks and libraries:
    • Snapchat uses various frameworks and libraries including Cocoa Touch, Bootstrap, Angular JS, JQuery, and React.
    Cloud services:
    • Snapchat utilizes cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

    The Most-played Online Gaming Apps

    By the way, when it comes to the most played online gaming apps in the world, the list looks as follows:
    • Minecraft
    • Apex Legends
    • Fortnite Battle Royale
    • Call of Duty
    • CrossFire
    It’s worth mentioning that Java is one of the main technologies used for Minecraft, the leading gaming app. Here's how Java is utilized in Minecraft:
    • Game engine: The core of Minecraft's game engine is written in Java. This includes the code responsible for generating and rendering the game world, handling player interactions, and managing game mechanics.
    • Cross-platform: Java allows Minecraft to be cross-platform compatible, meaning it can run on various operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux without the need for major modifications to the source code. This is due to Java's "Write Once, Run Anywhere" (WORA) nature, which enables platform independence.
    • Modding community: Java's flexibility and openness make it easier for modders to create and distribute modifications to the game.
    • Bukkit and Spigot: Bukkit and Spigot are popular server implementations for Minecraft, allowing players to host multiplayer servers with custom plugins. Both Bukkit and Spigot are built on top of the Java programming language and the CraftBukkit API.
    • Minecraft Forge: Minecraft Forge is another widely used modding platform for Minecraft. It provides an API that allows developers to create mods and add-ons using Java.
    • Minecraft launcher: The Minecraft launcher, used to launch and update the game, is written in Java and helps manage game installations, user authentication, and updates.


    In conclusion, the success of Threads and other top social media apps highlights the significance of robust and efficient technologies in app development. Java, as seen in the case of many apps, emerges as a tempting choice due to its versatility and cross-platform capabilities. Given its role in powering these highly successful apps, it becomes evident that learning Java remains a compelling decision for developers seeking to create feature-rich and scalable applications that can revolutionize the world. At CodeGym, we can equip students with a solid understanding of Java's fundamentals and provide them with practical experience through hands-on coding challenges and projects. So, take the leap and embark on your Java learning journey with CodeGym! Threads, Instagram, TikTok: Top Social Media Apps and What Technologies Stand Behind Them - 2
    Comments (1)
    Tanisk Upadhyay Level 1, India
    26 August 2023