Threads, an Instagram app developed by Meta as a competitor to Twitter, is scheduled for launch tomorrow in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, it seems that the rest of Europe may have to wait for its arrival. According to Independent.ie, a Meta spokesperson informed Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) that the service would not be rolled out in the European Union “at this point.”
The reason behind Threads not launching in much of Europe is attributed to the region’s more stringent data privacy requirements. The DPC is reportedly not blocking the service; instead, Meta has stated that it has not yet prepared the service for a European launch outside the UK, which operates under different privacy rules than the GDPR or EU regulations, as stated in the report.
Meta recently faced a ruling from the EU, mandating that it must obtain consent from users before delivering personalized ads in the region. Prior to this, the company was fined €390 million (approximately $425 million) by the EU for serving such ads without receiving consent.
Furthermore, in 2021, the DPC imposed a fine of €225 million ($266.8 million at the time) on WhatsApp for insufficient disclosure regarding the sharing of EU users’ data with Facebook. This could pose a problem for Threads in its current state since it automatically imports data from Instagram, including advertising and behavior information, as mentioned in its policy on the iOS App Store page.
Threads is entering the scene amidst issues with Twitter, such as tweet “rate limits” and degraded service for power-user app Tweetdeck. Many active Twitter users have been exploring alternative platforms like Bluesky and Mastodon, but some consider Threads to be the most viable option due to Meta’s scale, despite potential reservations regarding CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s track record on privacy and other concerns.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about privacy requirements
Q: Why is Threads, Meta’s Twitter rival, not launching in the EU?
A: Threads is not initially launching in the EU due to more stringent data privacy requirements in the region. Meta has not yet prepared the service for a European launch outside the UK, which operates under different privacy rules.
Q: What recent fines has Meta faced in relation to data privacy?
A: Meta was recently hit with a €390 million EU fine for delivering personalized ads without obtaining user consent. Additionally, WhatsApp, owned by Meta, faced a €225 million fine for inadequate disclosure of data sharing with Facebook.
Q: Will Threads automatically import data from Instagram?
A: Yes, according to the policy listed on its iOS App Store page, Threads automatically imports data from Instagram, including advertising and behavior information.
Q: Are there alternatives to Twitter being sought by users?
A: Yes, users experiencing issues with Twitter, such as tweet “rate limits” and degraded service, have been exploring alternative platforms like Bluesky and Mastodon. However, some consider Threads as a viable option due to Meta’s scale.
Q: What are the concerns regarding Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s track record on privacy?
A: Some users may have reservations about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s track record on privacy and other issues, but they still view Threads as a potential alternative to Twitter.
More about privacy requirements
- Independent.ie: Meta’s Threads app won’t initially launch in the EU
- GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
- EU fines Meta €390 million for delivering personalized ads without consent
- WhatsApp fined €225 million for inadequate data disclosure
- Threads app on the iOS App Store
- Bluesky: A decentralized social media protocol
- Mastodon: An open-source social networking platform
- Mark Zuckerberg’s track record on privacy concerns