The Threads app launched in the UK and US as the latest attempt by Meta to address the fallout from declining social media engagement, but it won’t launch in Europe due to data use restrictions and compliance issues. In the EU for example, Meta is not allowed to mingle user datastreams from Facebook and Instagram to run ads on Whatsapp, which is allowed in the US due to weaker privacy laws.
Threads lead feature is allowing users to instantly create a network with people they follow on Instagram. This can only mean that if you follow someone, as soon as you open a Threads account, the person you follow will automatically have a Threads account even if they don’t use the platform. It explains the fast growth of new subscribers. I believe it reached 100 million new accounts since it launched yesterday. As BBC said, you are going to be on Threads, whether you like it or not.
In its US format, the platform tells users that it will collect a wide variety of data from users, including health, financial information, browsing histories, location, purchases, contacts, search history and sensitive information. So, if you have an Instagram account your data is automatically copied to Threads. All you need to do is download the mobile app (it is not available on desktop) and activate your account, but your data is there ready to be harvested and when you land in Threads, you may note that you’re already there due to a follower who opened an account before you. You can’t start a new life on Threads, you will always be tied to Instagram baggage. In a way, you can expect to continue being subjected to the classic Meta model that hides posts from the people you follow but pollutes your page with brand marketing, paid influencers, and posts from people you don’t follow, based on everything you liked and searched in your previous lifetimes..
I personally always avoided Instagram because I was already over Facebook in 2016 when Instagram became a thing. Since then, there have been many repeated attempts by unknown people to open Instagram accounts under my email addresses, culminating in a full-blown identity theft that I am still assessing the damage of. I will definitely avoid Threads.
Since yesterday, several users took to social media to complain about Threads pushing unwanted content on their pages (the classic Meta model discussed above but worse), in other words the platform is failing on its main feature “allowing users to instantly create a network with people they follow on Instagram”. Well, maybe it is easier to get useless accounts (brands and celebrities) on board to prefill the platform because they do it for money, but it is not so easy to transfer regular users without their consent for free? I see a lot of complaints about “algorithmically suggested junk”. For now, Threads is something of an infomercial you can’t escape from unless you delete your Instagram account. Other users have dubbed Threads “Meta’s version of Truth Social”.
Update and rectification: I mentioned that Instagram “became a thing” by 2016 which is misleading. In fact, Instagram was launched in 2010 and was bought by Facebook in 2012. What happened in 2016 is that Instagram launched the stories feature in an attempt to rival Snapchat, which is when I noticed that Instagram exists. By that time, I had stopped using Facebook products and vowed to never touch Instagram after Cambridge Analytica and Facebook helped Donald Trump to be elected. So the claim that Instagram became “a thing” in 2016 is based on my own social media habits and bias in favor of video posts rather than still photography.