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If '6 elite engineers' built Threads, can most devs go home?

In a 21st century continuation of the number- of-people-it-takes-to-change-a-lightbulb question, the new hypothetical is how many people are really needed to create and maintain technology platforms. In the case of Meta's new Threads platform, the answer appears to be hardly any. There are suggestions that Threads was concocted by new fewer than six people.

The claims are flying around on Blind, the forum for technology staff. They appear to be based on a post by Meta itself congratulating 'six elite engineers' for creating Threads, which was endorsed by Mark Zuckerberg himself.

Meta didn't respond to a request to comment on the validity of the claims. 

Who are those elite engineers? Manoj Pawar, a senior engineering manager who works on recommendations at Meta in New York, says on social media that they were "a really small team at Instagram" and that his own team "worked on solving coldstart recommendations addressing the challenge of providing personalized recommendations when users join the app with minimal data!".

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, appears to have overseen the project. Threads was seemingly built on Python 3.10.  

As far as we are aware, there were no former bank engineers involved in building Threads. However, the comparatively small group of people involved in one of 2023's biggest platform launches, is a sign of the new times in which small hyper productive teams are replacing large teams enjoying ping pong tables and free food. Banks may yet get ideas, particularly as Meta only recently cut 10,000 staff, including many at Instagram.

Whether six elite engineers really did create Threads is open to question, though. Writing on Blind, one Meta engineer says there are actually ten people on the Threads team and that, in any case, "they are building on Instagram and on common data backends" and other existing infrastructure. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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