Internet users in the European Union (EU) have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Threads, an Instagram app owned by Meta. Initially launched in the United States and other countries in July, EU users have been unable to access the platform due to the company’s concerns about regulatory oversight from Brussels. However, recent developments indicate that the wait may finally be over. When visiting the Threads website, EU users are now greeted with a countdown timer that is set to end on Thursday at 1100 GMT. This has sparked speculation that the app will soon be available in the EU. Instagram has remained tight-lipped about the situation and declined to comment when contacted by AFP. However, reports from The Wall Street Journal suggest that Instagram plans to officially launch Threads in the EU this December.
Threads has been positioned as a potential rival to X (formerly Twitter), one of the world’s largest social media platforms. Despite facing challenges following Elon Musk’s takeover in 2022, X continues to maintain its dominance in the industry. In contrast, Threads made a strong entrance into the global market, with over 30 million people signing up within the first few hours of its launch in 100 countries. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, expressed his intentions to create a “public conversations app” for over a billion users, aiming to capitalize on the turbulent ownership of Twitter under Musk. With its established user base of over two billion people, Instagram hopes to leverage its popularity to drive the success of Threads.
The EU has positioned itself at the forefront of regulating and restraining big tech companies through the implementation of powerful legal frameworks. One such regulation is the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which targets the so-called “gatekeeper” companies that control business activities online. Meta’s cautious approach towards the regulatory landscape in the EU was evident earlier this year. The company feared the repercussions of the DMA and strategically delayed the launch of Threads in the EU. Meta has faced significant scrutiny in Europe due to concerns over data handling practices and struggles to comply with the EU’s stringent data privacy rules.
In November, Facebook and Instagram users in Europe were informed that they would need to pay to continue using Meta’s social networks if they wished to retain the EU data privacy protections. Alternatively, they could opt for a “free” version that entails the collection of their personal data for targeted advertising purposes. This unique “pay for privacy” approach has encountered legal challenges from privacy advocates. The outcome of these legal battles will not only impact Meta’s business model but also have broader implications for the digital landscape and the relationship between users and platforms.
As the countdown timer for the Threads EU launch winds down, anticipation is reaching its peak. Users within the EU can now search for a “ticket” that grants them a digital invitation to the app, complete with a countdown and the message “Threads EU launch,” accompanied by a QR code. This exciting development indicates that Meta may have overcome the regulatory obstacles that initially delayed the app’s availability in the EU.
The anticipated arrival of the Threads app in the EU has generated a great deal of excitement among internet users. As Instagram’s spin-off platform, Threads aims to rival the dominance of X in the global social media landscape. While Meta has faced significant regulatory and privacy challenges in Europe, the company appears to have navigated the landscape and is ready to bring Threads to EU users. The countdown is well underway, and all eyes will be on Thursday when the timer reaches zero, signaling the potential launch of Threads in the EU.