If you’re not already aware, Threads, Meta’s Twitter alternative attached to Instagram, hasn’t yet launched on mainland Europe.
Most recently Meta has been showing ads to some users in Europe that don’t take into account everything they do on Meta’s apps. The Digital Markets Act, which goes into effect in March, will make rules around Meta’s EU users even tougher.
Earlier this year, engineers at Instagram were moving quickly to build Threads, hoping to capitalize on the chaos unfolding at Twitter. They were able to jumpstart the app by building Threads on Instagram’s tech foundations, allowing users to sign up through Instagram, and transfer their personal data over from the bigger app.
Threads’ close ties to Instagram presented a problem, however. Lawyers at Meta were concerned the app would not be compliant with the DMA because the law restricts commingling user data between apps. So the engineers put together a proposal to make the app independent of Instagram, with a login option using an email or Apple ID, according to a person with direct knowledge. There was one problem: The app would take an additional year to build, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was not willing to delay a speedy rollout. So when Meta launched Threads in early July, leaders decided to exclude Europe from the launch.
Meta hasn’t addressed directly when its European users might get to use it. And right now, they have bigger problems: the buzz around Threads has rapidly deflated since the app’s launch. Daily active users on Android fell 79% to 10.3 million as of August 7 from 49 million the month before, according to SimilarWeb. (The analytics firm said traffic has picked up on its web version, which Instagram launched in late August.)
According to various reports, the Threads team is focused on building out more features on the app in the short term, and will address the Europe question later.