Topics: Elon Musk's 'Meta' rival 'X' launches in EU

  • Imran Rahman-Jones and Tom Gerken
  • Technology journalists

image source, EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Meta's social media app Threads has launched in the European Union, five months after its release elsewhere in the world.

It debuted as a rival to Elon Musk's X, formerly of Twitter.

However, it was not available in the EU, which has strict rules on data and big tech.

A Meta spokesperson said the platform has been “significantly improved” since its launch in other countries in July.

The lack of basic features such as a website and a search function initially faded the interest of users.

“Starting today, people in the EU can choose to create a Threads profile linked to their Instagram account, meaning they get the same experience as everyone else around the world, or use Threads without a profile,” they said.

The release of new features has helped win most of them back, but Threads remains less popular than X and has far fewer users than TikTok or other Meta services like Instagram and Facebook.

EU delay

Meta has not officially revealed why it delayed the launch of Threads in the EU, but it is believed to be due to the block's strict rules.

Meta spokesperson told The Verge. in July this was due to “looming regulatory uncertainty”.

They are designed to protect users on major social platforms, include rules on advertising to children and require companies to be more transparent about their algorithms with regulators.

Threads asks for permission to access a lot of data on your device, including location data, purchases, and browsing history.

It is currently unknown if the app has undergone significant changes to comply with EU law.

But in October, Meta announced that it would roll out subscription services across much of Europe that would remove ads from all platforms, which it said would help solve the EU's problems.

This comes after Meta was fined 390 million in January. EUR (£335m) fine for breaching EU ad data rules.

The subscription model is only valid for residents of the EU, the European Economic Area and Switzerland, and not in the UK.

Godfrey Kemp

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