• en

Meta’s Threads Social Media App Finally Launches in the EU Amid Regulatory Hurdles

Initially released to much fanfare, Threads garnered over 100 million users in its first week, only to see a decline in numbers shortly after.

Meta’s social media app Threads has finally made its debut in the European Union, five months after its global release. The launch marks a significant move for Meta, as Threads positions itself as a rival to Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter.

Initially released to much fanfare, Threads garnered over 100 million users in its first week, only to see a decline in numbers shortly after. The app faced criticism for lacking key features, including a website and search function, which contributed to the waning initial interest. Despite the setbacks, Meta has since made “significant improvements,” according to a company spokesperson, including enhanced interoperability with Instagram, which Meta also owns.

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, announced the EU launch with a post on Threads, extending a warm welcome to new users across Europe. The delay in Threads’ release in the EU was not officially disclosed by Meta, but it is widely believed to be linked to the stringent data and tech regulations within the bloc.

The EU’s Digital Services Act, implemented in August, imposes new responsibilities on major tech companies, designed to safeguard users on large social platforms. The rules cover aspects such as advertising to children and increased transparency about algorithms with regulators. Threads, known for requesting access to extensive data on users’ devices, may have undergone changes to comply with these regulations.

Meta’s spokesperson mentioned that Threads users in the EU can now connect their profiles to Instagram, providing them with a similar experience to users worldwide. However, users also have the option to use Threads without a profile.

The delayed launch in the EU resulted in a significant loss of users for Threads, as acknowledged by Zuckerberg, who stated that the app lost half of its users within three weeks of its global release. Subsequent releases of new features helped regain some of the lost user base, but Threads still lags behind competitors like X and has fewer users compared to Meta’s other services, such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

Meta, facing regulatory challenges and a €390 million fine in January for breaking EU data rules related to ads, introduced subscription services in October. The subscription model, available exclusively to users in the EU, European Economic Area, and Switzerland, removes ads from all Meta platforms. This move was positioned as an effort to address the concerns raised by EU regulators. However, the subscription service is not available in the UK. The launch of Threads in the EU signifies Meta’s ongoing efforts to navigate the complex regulatory landscape while expanding its user base in the region.

Kiki Garba

Follow us on: