Meta’s Threads app expands into Europe

Threads, the Meta app designed to take on Elon Musk’s X, is now rolling out in European Union countries for the first time.

When the social media app first launched in July, it was only to a handful of countries including the US and the UK.

Linked to a user’s Instagram profile, the app enables users to share text updates and join in with public conversations in a similar way to users on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In a statement on the launch, Meta said it would now allow EU users to sign up to the app using their Instagram profile – if they had one – or to use the app without a profile, which would limit their ability to interact with posts.

“Since launching Threads in July, we’ve made significant improvements to the app, including a web experience, a Following Feed, the ability to edit a post, search with keywords, tag topics, and more,” Meta said.

“We’re excited to give more people the opportunity to follow and join the conversations they care about.

“Starting today, people in the EU can choose to create a Threads profile that is connected to their Instagram account – which means they get the same experience as everyone else around the world – or use Threads without a profile.

“People who use Threads without a profile can browse content on Threads, search for accounts, share content via link copying or platform sharing, and report Threads content, but can’t interact with content.”

Meta has not disclosed the reason for the app’s delayed arrival in the EU, but it is thought to have been in part linked to new sweeping European Union laws around data usage by big tech companies and to curb their market dominance.

In July, a Meta spokesperson told technology news outlet The Verge the delay was due to “upcoming regulatory uncertainty”, believed to be a reference to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which came into force in August.

The option to now use Threads in the EU without a profile as an alternative to linking an Instagram profile to the app appears to be the tech giant’s solution to satisfy European regulators’ concerns around Threads’ close links to Instagram.

In a post to his own Threads feed on the rollout, Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg said: “Today we’re opening Threads to more countries in Europe. Welcome everyone.”

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