Meta’s Threads App Launch Postponed in EU Amid Data Privacy Concerns

Meta Threads app

Meta’s Twitter rival, Threads, which is due to release worldwide on Thursday (July 6), will not be offered in the European Union.

Per a preview image of the app displayed in Apple’s App Store, non-EU users will be able to log into the text-based conversation app using their Instagram account to share ideas, discuss trends and connect with others.

The European Union delay is due to uncertainty surrounding the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Bloomberg reported on Wednesday (July 5), citing a person familiar with the matter.

Graham Doyle, deputy commissioner of Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC), told Bloomberg that Meta “informed us that they have no plans” to launch the app in the EU “at present.”

Per the news report, Meta is one of the companies that has self-designated as a “gatekeeper” under the DMA, as it meets certain standards shared by other Big Tech firms such as Meta, Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

These include having an annual turnover of at least 7.5 billion euros within the European Union in the past three years or a market valuation of at least 75 billion euros, as well as at least 45 million monthly end users and 10,000 business users established in the EU.

The news surrounding Threads’ uncertain future in the EU comes as Meta has been battling EU authorities over data privacy concerns. In May, the social media behemoth was slammed with a record-breaking $1.3 billion fine, surpassing the $806 million fine levied against Amazon in Luxembourg back in 2021.

The landmark fine by the Irish Data Protection Commission was issued after the regulator found that Meta violated Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by transferring data collected from Facebook’s EU users to its servers in the U.S., PYMNTS reported.

Prior to that in January, Meta was slapped with a $422 million fine after the DPC concluded that Meta Ireland’s advertising business model was not compliant with the GDPR.

Meta, like several other tech companies, has its European headquarters in Ireland, which makes the DPC the company’s main privacy watchdog.