Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Tech News

Why the Threads aren’t always greener on the other side

With Twitter/X becoming more unfriendly to the general user, many are looking for an alternative – but Meta’s Threads may not be it either.

The login screen for Meta's Threads on a black background. Threads of black with white letters weave around, broken up by a rainbow colored thread with Threads repeated in white letters across it.

With Twitter/X hanging by a thread, Threads by Meta has stepped in as an alternative. Threads experienced instantaneous popularity, garnering ten million followers within the first several hours of the launch and one hundred new users in the first few days after the launch.

However, Threads is not without its flaws. Information provided about the app’s privacy via mandatory disclosures required on iOS shows the app may collect sensitive information about users to profile their digital activity- including, health and financial data, precise location, browsing history, contacts, and other sensitive data.

Considering that Thread’s parent company, Meta, makes its money from tracking and profiling web users to sell their attention via its behavioral advertising microtargeting tools, this shouldn’t exactly come as a shock to users.

Threads didn’t launch in the European Union due to regulatory concerns. Currently, the EU is trying to work out how data sharing between the new platform and its Instagram app will be regulated. This decision comes in the wake of the Digital Markets Act, which was enacted in September 2022. This act narrowly defines the objective criteria for qualifying a large online platform as a gatekeeper and governs how large platforms can use their power. Meta is waiting for more guidance from the EU, which is expected to take place sometime this September.

Under current EU law, sensitive information such as health data also requires an even higher standard of explicit consent to be legally processed in order to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation. So Meta would need to ask and obtain specific permission for processing sensitive data like health into.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Additionally, incoming EU regulations ban the use of sensitive data for ads entirely and may require explicit consent from tech giants to combine data for ad profiling (see: the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act). So there’s even more regional legal uncertainty looming on the horizon for Meta’s people farming business. (Designated gatekeepers must be compliant with the DMA by next spring; while so-called very large online platforms need to meet obligations under the DSA by August 25.)

Currently, Meta doesn’t even have an opt-out option for users who do not want to (or cannot legally) share their personal information.

And with even harder limits on surveillance ads coming down the pipe in the EU an app that proposes to track everything to maximize its appeal to advertisers will be a tough sell to regional regulators. To even become available in the EU, Meta would have to change how they run their app, and it’s unclear if they would even want to do that, since they’re already available in ninety-nine countries, catering to a small few countries with stricter privacy laws may not be on the top of their priority list.  

Moreover, Meta was just hit with a record-breaking $1.3 billion dollar fine for privacy breaches this past May. These fines came from the European Union, which was previously warned by the EU for transferring Facebook users’ data to US servers, saying that it was not sufficiently protected from American spy agencies.

It has now been ordered to stop transferring that data and has a five-month grace period to comply. Meta said it plans to appeal the ruling. The ruling applies only to Facebook, and not Meta’s other platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp, according to Insider.

Even if Threads is available in your country, there are a few privacy concerns that Meta users should keep in mind. First and foremost, Threads requires users to link their Meta-owned Instagram accounts to their Threads accounts. This means if you want to delete your Threads account for privacy reasons and otherwise, you’re forced to delete your Instagram account as well. This could be innocuous, but it feels as if it’s a ploy to dissuade users from deleting their Threads accounts by leveraging their often long-standing Instagram accounts.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Another issue is Thread’s data retention policy. Threads may retain all the data you input, as well as allow third parties to access your information.

In addition to users’ Threads activity, the company’s privacy policy indicates it also has access to GPS location, cameras, photos, IP information, the type of device being used, and device signals including “Bluetooth signals, nearby Wi-Fi access points, beacons, and cell towers”.

It’s clear that even though Twitter has had its fair share of issues and scandals, the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

Nicole is a recent graduate (okay fine, a recent-ish graduate) of Texas State University-San Marcos where she received a BA in Psychology. When she's not doing freelance writing, she's doing freelance Public Relations. When she's not working, she's hanging out with dogs or her friends - in that order. Nicole watches way too much Netflix and is always quoting The Office. She has an obsession with true crime and sloths.


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.



Business Entrepreneur

Creating ads can be a headache, but Meta is hoping to bring forth generative AI that can create advertising with a few short descriptions.

Tech News

Mark Zuckerberg believes the Quest Pro could replace laptops and PCs. This leaves many folks asking the age-old question, “Are we there yet?”

Tech News

Meta launched its new Twitter competitor, Threads this week, and it gained more than 10 million followers overnight. Could this be a harbinger of...

Tech News

In this unexpected approach, Meta Lattice aims to use less harvested user data in order to create better targeted advertising.


The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.