Meta’s Threads app won’t launch in EU, faces stricter privacy rules

Meta is reportedly holding off on an EU Threads launch due to a lack of clarity around data sharing restrictions

Threads in the App Store

Update July 5th, 2023 at 4:28pm ET: It looks like Meta’s Threads app might arrive earlier than expected. Learn more here.

Meta’s Twitter rival Threads is set to arrive on July 6th, but not in the EU, thanks to stricter privacy laws.

As reported by the Independent, in the EU, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) said it was in contact about the new service but confirmed it wouldn’t come to the EU “at this point.” Importantly, Threads hasn’t been blocked in the EU — Meta just hasn’t prepared a version of Threads for the region’s stricter privacy rules.

It seems to come down to the mixing of data across Meta products. According to the Independent, Meta can mingle data streams in the U.S. Considering Threads will be heavily tied to Meta’s Instagram product and leverage the same user accounts, as well as collect a vast trove of user data, this is likely the sticking point for a potential EU launch.

Meanwhile, the publication reported that sources “close to Meta” say the company is holding off on launching Threads due to a lack of clarity in the region’s Digital Markets Act and its restrictions on how platforms can mix users’ personal data.

The DPC previously prevented Meta from launching advertising in WhatsApp that uses data from the company’s other products, like Facebook and Instagram.

It remains unclear if or when Meta will expand Threads to the EU.

The Threads app has already appeared on the App Store and Play Store ahead of its July 6th launch. The App Store listing includes information about the data Threads can collect and link to users, such as health and fitness data, purchases, location, financial info, and more.

Although Instagram collects the same data, the hype around Threads has sparked some concern over privacy. At the same time, fans of Elon Musk and Twitter are boosting the issue despite Twitter collecting much of the same data.

Source: Independent