European Union users will have to wait before accessing the app, as Meta has decided not to launch it in the EU for the time being. The move is in response to the stricter data privacy regulations imposed by the EU under the General Data Protection Regulation framework.
The Threads platform aims to gather user data from Instagram, including behavioral patterns, advertising preferences, and other sensitive information. While Meta has launched Threads in 100 countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, it has refrained from doing so in the EU due to what it perceives as ambiguity in the EU’s Digital Markets Act. This legislation designates companies like Meta as “gatekeepers” and imposes restrictions on the aggregation of users’ personal data.
Although the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has not actively blocked the launch of Threads in the EU, Meta has chosen not to introduce the platform in countries governed by GDPR and EU privacy rules. It is worth noting that Meta has faced limitations on advertising services in WhatsApp that utilize data from Facebook or Instagram in the EU, while such mingling is permissible in the US, where privacy laws are less stringent.
Meanwhile, Twitter has experienced disruptions and policy changes of its own. Elon Musk’s company recently announced restrictions on the number of tweets that users can read, citing concerns about data scraping practices. Additionally, Twitter has disclosed that its popular management tool, TweetDeck, will soon be limited to verified users who have paid for the privilege.
Analysts have noted that while Threads’ launch has been timely, it may face an uphill battle in surpassing Twitter’s established user base. However, it has been able to amasse over 10 million users in the first seven hours of its launch, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Twitter on the other hand already faces competition from alternative platforms like Bluesky, Mastodon, Post.News, and Hive, each vying for a share of Twitter’s market dominance.
Nevertheless, Meta’s Threads could gain significant traction if influential figures and celebrities choose to migrate to the platform. The engagement of Instagram users with significant follower bases, such as celebrities like the Kardashians, Bieber, or Messi, could potentially accelerate Threads’ adoption and propel its growth.
Meta’s decision to exclude the EU from the initial launch of Threads highlights the complexities and evolving landscape of data privacy regulations.