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Instagram’s Twitter rival, Threads, not coming to EU ”at this point”

Instagram’s forthcoming social networking app, Threads, which is positioned as a competitor to Twitter and backed by Elon Musk, will not be made available in the European Union (EU) “at this time,” as confirmed by a representative from the Data Protection Commission (DPC) of Ireland.

Although regulators have not explicitly blocked Meta’s Threads app in the EU, Meta itself has chosen to delay the app’s launch in the region to avoid potential regulatory complications, as the app would fall under the scope of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and EU privacy rules.

According to a spokesperson from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, the Threads app will not be accessible within the EU for the time being.

Meta has encountered several conflicts with EU regulators regarding its handling of user data. In 2021, the DPC fined WhatsApp €225 million ($266.8 million at that time) for insufficiently informing users about how their data is shared with Facebook. This raises concerns for Threads since it imports data from Instagram, including advertising and behavioral information, as stated in its policy on the iOS App Store page.

Meta has also faced a significant penalty of €1.2 billion for GDPR violations. Most of these fines were issued by the DPC in Ireland, where Meta’s European headquarters are located. In 2022 alone, the regulator imposed four fines on the tech giant.

Furthermore, the EU has mandated that Meta must obtain user consent before delivering personalized ads within the region. Previously, the company was fined €390 million for serving such ads without proper consent.

The Threads app, similar to Twitter, will focus on text-based posts. Users will be able to share, comment, and repost these posts. Additionally, Threads users can follow the same accounts they have on Instagram and retain their usernames.

Threads, developed by Meta to compete with Twitter, is scheduled to launch on app stores in approximately 100 countries on July 6.

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