Meta Platforms rolls out X (Twitter) rival Threads in European Union; eyes big spike in users | Tech News

Meta Platforms rolls out X (Twitter) rival Threads in European Union; eyes big spike in users

Facebook owner Meta's text-based app Threads arrived in the European Union on Thursday, months after its global launch in July.

By:AFP
| Updated on: Dec 15 2023, 06:49 IST
5 Tech Titans who reacted to Twitter-killer Threads - Jack Dorsey to Elon Musk, check it out
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1/7 On their part, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, posted this note on the Threads app, “Here we go. We have lots of work to do, but we’re looking to build an open, civil place for people to have conversations.” (REUTERS)
Threads
2/7 At the same time, Meta Platforms CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said, "Our vision is to take the best parts of Instagram and create a new experience for text, ideas, and discussing what's on your mind.” (AP)
Threads
3/7 Elon Musk - While Musk did not directly talk about the Threads app, the Twitter chief took a dig at Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comment about how Twitter runs, saying, “It is infinitely preferable to be attacked by strangers on Twitter than indulge in the false happiness of hide-the-pain Instagram.” Musk also responded to a meme with a laughing emoji on Twitter which showed a keyboard with copy-and-paste buttons, implying that Threads was just a copycat of Twitter. (REUTERS)
Threads
4/7 Jack Dorsey - The former Twitter CEO and current co-founder of Bluesky Social mocked the similar interface of several Twitter alternatives in a tweet. He wrote, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 7 Twitter clones.” (REUTERS)
Threads
5/7 Bill Gates - Announcing his arrival on the new microblogging platform, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wrote on Threads, “I’m excited to jump into @threadsapp,” while also sharing a GIF of him jumping over a chair. (REUTERS)
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6/7 Carl Pei - Nothing co-founder and CEO Carl Pei has also joined Threads. In his first post, he wrote, “I don’t know if Threads is going to make it or not, but at least it has closed the door for Bluesky.” (Bloomberg)
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7/7 M.G. Siegler - In a tweet, M.G. Siegler, general partner at Google Ventures wrote about Threads, “Sort of strange that Instagram is about to launch Threads to try to eat Twitter just as Retro is starting to eat Instagram Stories…” (Google Ventures)
Threads
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Threads is a spin-off of the Instagram photo app and is intended to be a rival to X, formerly known as Twitter, after that platform alienated many users and advertisers following Elon Musk's purchase last year. (Bloomberg)

Facebook owner Meta's text-based app Threads arrived in the European Union on Thursday, months after its global launch in July, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. Threads is a spin-off of the Instagram photo app and is intended to be a rival to X, formerly known as Twitter, after that platform alienated many users and advertisers following Elon Musk's purchase last year.

"Today we're opening Threads to more countries in Europe. Welcome everyone," Zuckerberg said on Threads.

Threads went live in 100 countries earlier this year but not in the EU. Meta officials cited regulatory clarity as the reason for delaying the social network's arrival in Europe.

Meta has repeatedly come under the EU's regulatory microscope, especially over concerns about how it uses people's data to serve highly targeted advertising.

The European Union has bolstered its legal armoury to rein in Big Tech, with stricter rules to protect European users online and to boost competition in an industry dominated by US giants.

More than 100 million people had joined Threads within a week of its launch that excluded the EU.

Meta said that now EU users can create a Threads profile connected to their Instagram account, but they can also use the app without a profile to browse, share and even report content, as part of the company's compliance with EU rules.

They cannot, however, interact with Threads content nor post without an Instagram sign-on.

Instagram has some two billion users around the world.

Threads said it had added new features since its launch including a "Following Feed", the ability to edit a post, search with keywords and tag topics.

- 'Reach more people' -

Under a landmark law known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the EU named Meta as a "gatekeeper", and its Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp face tougher curbs.

The stricter rules especially impact the world's biggest online companies. They include Meta, Google's Alphabet, Amazon Apple, TikTok parent ByteDance and Microsoft.

Zuckerberg said a day earlier that Threads had begun tests where users' posts will also be available on similar text-based and open-source rival social networks like Mastodon.

"Making Threads interoperable will give people more choice over how they interact and it will help content reach more people. I'm pretty optimistic about this," Zuckerberg said in a Threads post.

Interoperability is also an EU goal. Under the DMA, the most popular messaging services will have to make it possible for users to send messages to other apps.

Meta is challenging the EU's designation of its instant messenger service Messenger as a "core platform service" and for its Facebook Marketplace also coming under the DMA's scope.

The company has struggled to comply with the strict rules of a 2018 EU data privacy regulation.

It hopes that by offering paid ad-free subscriptions in Europe for Facebook and Instagram for users unwilling to have their personal data harvested it will help to avoid further issues.

- Addressing misinformation -

Threads chief Adam Mosseri also said this week that the app would extend its fact-checking programme next year.

"We currently match fact-check ratings from Facebook or Instagram to Threads, but our goal is for fact-checking partners to have the ability to review and rate misinformation on the app. More to come soon," he said on Threads.

Another milestone EU law is the Digital Services Act, which forces digital giants to aggressively police content online in the EU, including misinformation, disinformation and hate speech, against the risk of major fines.

AFP is involved in a partnership with Meta providing fact-checking services in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.

 

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First Published Date: 15 Dec, 06:49 IST
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