Meta launches Threads in EU

Threads, Meta’s alternative to Elon Musk’s X, is finally launching in the EU, a market of nearly half a billion potential users.

“Today, we’re opening Threads to more countries in Europe. Welcome everyone,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on the platform.

Threads launched in July in 100 countries, including the US and European nations like the UK and Ukraine, but not the EU. The launch in the 27-nation bloc, which includes major markets like Germany and France, was delayed due to stricter privacy laws.

To placate regulators in Brussels, Meta will allow users in the EU to browse Threads without a profile. Users will still be required to log in with an Instagram account in order to interact or post on the platform.

Meta has faced criticism that its social media platforms collect more personal data than rivals, with Threads the worst offender when it comes to protecting user privacy, according to one study.

Threads uses Instagram user data, including location, search history, and other sensitive information. The tie-in allowed the app to sign up 100 million users in just five days since its debut on July 5th.

This initial surge was followed by a sharp drop in user engagement as Threads was still very much a work in progress.

A month after the launch, the app’s usage was down 79% from a peak of 49.3 million daily active users on July 7th to 10.3 million on August 7th, according to Similarweb, which tracks online traffic.

As Threads continued to develop more features and users continued to abandon X, formerly known as Twitter, the engagement picked up speed again. The number of daily active users reached 33 million in October, according to data from Apptopia.

The launch in the EU will likely significantly boost the app’s user count just as X struggles to retain both users and advertisers.

Threads has cemented its status as the most viable alternative to X even though Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri previously said the platform's goal “isn’t to replace Twitter.” He said its goal was to create a “public square” for those who are interested in a “less angry” place for conversations.

Elon Musk, who bought Twitter more than a year ago and rebranded it to X in April, threatened to sue Meta after Threads was launched over “systemic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter trade secrets and intellectual property.”

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