Threads is finally launched in the European Union

by Jerry

Meta’s Threads social network is available to users in the European Union, five months after its launch in the rest of the world. In addition, people living in the countries of the bloc will be able to access the platform without a profile, an option that does not exist in other countries.

The news was announced by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, in a post on Threads itself. With this, the network becomes available to the 448 million people living in the European Union. Until then, access to the platform was blocked even using a VPN.

Thus, Threads, Meta’s answer to X/Twitter, gains a little room to grow in number of users. The app arrived making a lot of noise and breaking records, but in the first few weeks, the metrics didn’t prove to be sustainable.

Meta was scared of EU laws
The reason for the delay was regulatory. In an interview with the Verge, Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, pointed out the “complexities of complying with some of the laws that will go into effect next year [2024].”

Despite not mentioning it by name, Mosseri was likely referring to the Digital Markets Act (also known as the DMA and Digital Markets Regulation). The new law will take effect in March 2024 and aims to combat abuses and unfair competition from tech giants, such as Meta, Google, Apple and Amazon, among others.

In the specific case of Threads, it is speculated that the connection of the new network with Instagram could create problems for Meta, since the DMA includes rules against favoring services from the same company.

This connection was once stronger: it was not possible to delete the Threads account without also deleting the Instagram one, for example, which changed in November. Even so, it is still necessary to have an Instagram account to publish or interact with posts on the network.

The login-free access mode also seems like a way to avoid legal issues. With it, the user can view an algorithmically generated feed and search for accounts. Apparently, it’s not possible to search for specific posts.

The arrival in the European Union was not the only novelty of Threads. On Wednesday (13), Mark Zuckerberg announced that the platform has begun testing integration with services that also use the ActivityPub protocol. This could allow Threads users to interact with posts on networks like Mastodon and Bluesky in the future.

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