Meta's new app, called "Threads," has made its debut. The rival to Twitter experienced a successful first day, with over 10 million people signing up within hours of its launch. However, Threads inherits Meta's privacy concerns from its other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, known for their data-hungry practices. This raises questions about Threads' stance on privacy. Let's delve deeper into the matter.
Why is this story significant?
Threads are being hailed as the next major player in social media. This Instagram-based app aims to entice Twitter users away from Elon Musk's struggling microblogging platform. While there is considerable excitement surrounding Threads, it is only natural to feel apprehensive about any app associated with Meta, considering its potential impact on user privacy. Unfortunately, early indications are not encouraging.
Threads may gather up to 14 types of data Meta has a reputation for gathering sensitive user information to create profiles of their online activities, primarily for targeted advertising purposes. Both Facebook and Instagram, owned by Meta, have faced criticism for these practices. It appears that Threads is no exception. According to the app's iOS description, it can collect 14 types of data, including "other data." However, the exact extent of its data collection remains unclear at present.
Meta will employ the collected data for targeted advertising By using Threads, users are entrusting Meta with sensitive information about themselves, including location data, browsing history, financial details, and purchase information, among other things. Although the app currently lacks advertisements, it is highly likely that Meta will utilize the gathered information for targeted advertising. In fact, Meta may not even require additional data, as it already possesses a substantial amount of user information through Facebook and Instagram.
Threads' privacy practices differ based on age and features Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, recently made a sarcastic remark about Threads' extensive data collection, a sentiment that Elon Musk also endorsed. Threads' data collection goes beyond the specified list, as indicated in the app's listing on the App Store: "Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age." Only Meta truly comprehends the implications behind this statement.
Meta postponed Threads' launch in the EU due to privacy concerns Meta recently faced a significant setback in Europe when the EU's highest court ruled that obtaining user consent is mandatory before using personal data for targeted advertising. Additionally, the court invalidated the legal basis for Meta's behavioral ads. The EU's legislation necessitates a higher standard of explicit consent for collecting sensitive data, including health information. Consequently, Meta has postponed the launch of Threads in the EU.