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Threads (By Instagram) To Enter Europe Soonish‽

Threads icon by Vecteezy

One of the primary reasons why Threads has forgone entry into nations residing in the European Union 🇪🇺 (as well as the European Economic Area & Switzerland 🇨🇭) was due to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which forbids the sharing of user information (especially for advertising purposes) without user consent.

It doesn’t look like Threads collects vast amounts more data than Meta’s other services, and the mere collection wouldn’t get it into trouble. It’s the DMA’s rules around data mixing, or combining all of the data it collects on users to build advertising profiles, that could break the rules. German regulators already ordered the company to stop combining WhatsApp and Instagram data without user consent back in 2019. The DMA would apply similar rules all across Europe, forcing the company to require European users to opt in before their personal information could be combined across platforms.

The Verge

However, with Meta offering a premium subscription for Facebook & Instagram instead of ads, we could witness Threads entry into most of Europe sooner rather than later.

We announced in August our intention to move people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland to the GDPR legal basis of “Consent” for the purpose of processing data collected on our own platforms for advertising purposes. We made that change to address a number of evolving and emerging regulatory requirements in the region. This includes how our lead data protection regulator in the EU, the Irish Data Protection Commission, is interpreting GDPR following a recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and anticipating the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The option for people to purchase a subscription for no ads balances the requirements of European regulators while giving users choice and allowing Meta to continue serving all people in the EU, EEA and Switzerland. In its ruling, the CJEU expressly recognised that a subscription model, like the one we are announcing, is a valid form of consent for an ads funded service.

Facebook Newsroom

Meta has yet to reveal whether they will expand the premium ad-free experience to the rest of Earth. Still, the social networking king hopes this new premium option will make it easier for European Instagram users to access Threads.

It will be interesting to see how the responds to Meta’s latest offer, but if the premium option satisfies the European government, it will witness Threads make its first debut in the European Union 🇪🇺, bringing in tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of new users to the platform within days.

Note: This would be bad news for X (formally Twitter) as Threads is attempting to replace X / Twitter as the de facto platform for conversations online.

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