After several EU-based users complained about not being able to access Instagram’s Threads app through a VPN, Meta confirmed that the attempt was blocked.
The company launched Threads last week, but given the privacy concerns surrounding the app, it’s not available in the EU. The company said in a statement that it had implemented further measures to stop users from accessing the new social apps.
“The thread is currently unavailable in most countries in Europe and we have taken additional steps to prevent people who are there from accessing it at this time. Europe continues to be a very important market for Meta and we look forward to having Threads available here in the future,” he said in a statement provided to Zero2Billions.
Earlier today, some EU-based users started posting screenshots on Twitter showing that they were unable to access the Threads app even after using a VPN.
Ok, looks like Meta has really decided to ban Europe on Threads, as it’s available globally, but not from Europe (even with a VPN). pic.twitter.com/Al64RL674G
— Yury Molodtsov ⚡️ (@y_molodtsov) July 14, 2023
This approach creates legal and regulatory challenges for Meta in the EU.
Under EU data protection laws, Meta requires a valid legal basis to legally process such personal data for ad targeting — an area where the company has faced increasing uncertainty following the recent Court of Justice ruling.
That’s also not all: The block’s shiny new ex-ante antitrust regime, the Digital Markets Act, also limits how the applicable gatekeeping giants can aggregate data for advertising. And Meta has they say cited uncertainty over how DMA would implement its use of business data as the reason for delaying the launch of Threads in the EU.
Although not officially launched in most of Europe, rival Twitter Meta has gotten off to a great start as the app surpassed 100 million subscribers in just a few days.
However, according analytical monitoring firm Sensor Tower, daily active users are down 20% this week compared to Saturday, and time spent on the app has also decreased. So it remains to be seen whether Threads’ buzz will fade to more background buzz as the novelty of the Meta version of Twitter wears off.
Earlier this week, Meta updated the Thread iOS app with support for iOS 17 and reduced the binary size along with other minor improvements.
In response to posts about a lack of web or desktop support, engineer Cameron Roth said it’s not as simple as “turning it on”.