Meta last week* introduced threads and in five days the app has gained more than 100 million users in the US, UK and hundreds of other countries, but users in the EU cannot download it. The app is lagging because of the meta rep* Christine Pai called “forthcoming regulatory uncertainty‘ which appears to refer to the European Digital Markets Act (DMA). In short, this law does not allow meta* Link user accounts in Threads and Instagram*and so the registration is implemented in the new service.
Tech companies and regulation skeptics have long argued that laws like the DMA stifle innovation by requiring elaborate user protections, but that’s not stopping Meta* from the release of new products. The company has not yet said it will abandon the European launch of Threads. In any case, DMA creates additional difficulties, slows down product launch and forces the company to evaluate user protection. As the tech giants await further clarification from the EU in the fall, much uncertainty remains, such as whether complying with European rules violates the design that caused Threads’ rapid development.
Pai and other representatives of Meta* declined to attribute Threads’ delay to any of Europe’s many technology regulations. But an interview with the head of Instagram* Adam Mosseri suggests DMA is to blame. The law, passed last year, includes a set of new rules designed to prevent companies, which it defines as “gatekeepers” or “guardians,” that have reached a certain threshold in user base and market cap from abusing their market power. Meta* and other big tech companies like Google and TikTok officially identified themselves as “gatekeepers” earlier this month.
Mosseri attributed the delay in starting threads to various problems. However, he expressly referred to the rules that prevent meta* Blend data collected from users in products like Facebook*Instagram* and whatsapp. “It’s not just about disclosure and consent. This is also a check to see if there are any data leaks. You need to put in place processes and technology that virtually guarantee you can verify everything you say, usually in a variety of ways.‘ Moses said.
It doesn’t look like Threads collects much more data than other meta services*, and the data collection itself will not cause problems. It’s the DMA rules regarding data mixing, or combining all of the data a company collects about users to create advertising profiles, that may violate the rules. The German supervisory authorities have already ordered the company to stop merging WhatsApp and Instagram data* without user consent in 2019. The DMA will apply similar rules across Europe, forcing the company to obtain consent from European users before merging their personal data from different platforms.
Targeted advertising is a problem for most meta-services*, but maybe that’s not the biggest problem Threads has. A large part of the app’s immediate success is due to its association with Instagram.*. To create an account on Threads, users need to connect their Instagram accounts* and use the same account names. Then they can use Instagram*to automatically follow accounts they have already followed on this platform to threads.
The problem is that the DMA prohibits gatekeepers from treating their own products more favorably than competitors’ products on their platforms, also known as “self-referencing” or “self-preference.” Self-referencing describes how companies like Amazon and Google promote their own products at the top of a user’s search results, putting their competitors at a disadvantage.
Georgios Petropoulos, a research associate at Stanford Digital Economics Lab (SDEL), told The Verge that the Threads app is not a clear case of self-referencing, but it is a concern. “When the business leverages existing popular products like Instagram*Facebook*, to promote a new platform, it can also be seen as something similar. This is not a clear breach of the self-referencing obligation, but could be considered as such.“Said Petropoulos. The EU is expected to provide additional guidance to companies in the autumn that may shed some light on the situation.
past meta* has already been forced to abandon some of its products due to EU intervention. In 2020, the German cartel office launched an investigation into Meta* for requiring Oculus (now Quest) VR headset users to log into their accounts with their Facebook profile*. Meta last year* finally relented and unlinked the headsets from the social media accounts. Threads requirement for login via Instagram* can cause similar problems with meta*but with more costly consequences. The DMA allows fines of up to 10% of a company’s annual income for violations and even up to 20% for repeat violations, as well as additional non-financial behavioral or structural sanctions.
Many of the issues raised by the DMA could be solved by allowing users to create Threads accounts using just their email address and not their Instagram accounts.*. Meta* Maybe I’ll try in the future. The question is whether this will slow the explosive growth of the application, especially since Meta* took additional steps to submit the application “sticky» Thanks to Instagram*B. by allowing people to only delete their Threads account if they donate their Instagram account*.
Mosseri suggested Meta* New systems need to be put in place to demonstrate that Threads is compliant with all EU regulations. Mosseri called the launch of threads “just do a lot more than anything we’ve done lately“. There’s such a rapid pace of product launches in the US, but some EU lawmakers don’t seem to mind waiting. Given the sudden success of Threads, it’s unlikely that Meta* will permanently stop launching the app in Europe – and since the app launched with minimal features and an inconvenient algorithmic feed, Europeans can get a better platform with more privacy.
“The fact that Threads is still not available for EU citizens shows that EU regulation is working. I hope Meta* Make sure all rules are considered and followed before allowing access to EU citizens“said Christel Schaldemose, a Danish lawmaker, last week. In any case, the new regulatory measures underline the importance of respecting user privacy and fair competition in the digital sphere.
* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations for which the court made a final decision to liquidate or ban activities on the grounds provided for in Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25, 2002 “On Combating Extremists”. has met activity”.