Instagram's Thread app might not release in the EU ever, and here's why?

Instagram's Thread app might not release in the EU ever, and here's why?

Date: April 07, 2024

In a recent update, Instagram has already launched its latest application ‘Threads’ in multiple regions of the world. However, the release in the EU region is not final yet. Find out why!

Meta formerly known as Facebook, has been a controversial magnet amongst the social media tech giants. This time around, the social media giant is in the news because of its latest launch Threads. 

What is Threads? - “Threads is a social media platform developed under the tag of “Instagram Inc.”. The application allows its users to post text maximum of up to 500 chars along with links, images, and videos (which can be 5 minutes long).” 

Note: To visit our Threads App review, click here

The application has been launched to dominate the Twitter market. In fact, considering the fact that it lets its user create posts on similar pages about a single topic, it won’t be wrong to say that there are some Reddit influences too.

The app is under speculation because of its mandatory disclosure required on the iOS platform leading to the collection of highly sensitive information such as financial data, health data, location of the user, browsing history, contact, and multiple other sensitive data points.

With the kind of image that Meta has been carrying from the past, it isn’t surprising that the company is being questioned regarding its latest service. The ad tech company practically runs by gathering user data and by running ads based on that data.

Under these circumstances, the chances of Threads getting launched in the EU seem bleak. In fact, Meta has already been charged for processing Facebook users’ data of EU for personal gains at the start of the year. 

Regarding the issue, Meta had already claimed a legitimate interest in ad-data processing. However, the German court declared that the argument isn’t legitimate enough to be running behavioral ads on the platform. Under the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Law) regulation, Meta still needs to seek the permission of its user to collect highly sensitive data such as medical records.

Adding to it, the incoming EU regulations the digital services act, and the digital markets act will further increase surveillance for tech companies to gather data for profiling. This presses harder on the fact behind the uncertainty of Threads’ launch in the EU.

As of now, Meta doesn’t have a prompt to ask its users for permission from tracking data for profiling users for targeted ads. Getting explicit permission for health conditions is going to be a lot harder for the service. In fact, Meta is going to have a hard time proposing an app in the EU region that tracks data as the revenue model goes in the opposite direction of the EU regulations.

This is not all, as Meta has already been fined $1.3 billion for sending users' data to the US as per GDPR compliance. A similar regulation has been laid upon other Meta products that aren’t adequate as per Europe’s data privacy laws. This clearly states that Threads won’t be serving in the region as it isn’t abiding by the law to serve its users in the EU.

For Meta to launch its services in the EU region as per compliance. The company needs to massively change its way of operation which is clearly not the case with Threads. 

Meta has formerly got a lot of negative flack for its data-gathering strategies. To change its image, it even rebranded to Meta from Facebook. Another strategy it took to cleanse the image of Threads is to label it as an Instagram app. Regardless of the choice, Meta has still managed to grab over 10 million user downloads in a short span of time from its user base from its old entity “Instagram”. In fact, they even marketed Threads as the sister “text” app of Instagram.

In fact on 5th June, 2023, Irish Independent reported quoting Meta’s lead regional data protection supervisor saying that they had tried to contact him, however, there hasn’t been a response yet.

Right now, the Threads app has also been launched in the U.K. Considering the regulatory concerns, the market was free from the domination of EU regulations post the Brexit referendum.

The data protection regime of the U.K. was derived from GDPR, however, similar legal requirements don’t apply there. The country’s data protection organization ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) has been infamous for staying silent on system breaches by the advertisement industry. In fact, the U.K. government even decided to further dilute the domestic data protection laws post the Brexit data reform bill. To give you further context for the negligence of compliance, amongst all the tech giants, Meta is still the most penalized company as per the EU’s data protection regulations.

Arpit Dubey

By Arpit Dubey LinkedIn Icon

Arpit is a dreamer, wanderer, and a tech nerd who loves to jot down tech musings and updates. With a logician mind, he is always chasing sunrises and tech advancements while secretly preparing for the robot uprising.

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