On Thursday, when Instagram Threads launches in the US and UK, people in the European Union will have to just sit and watch as others sign up, according to Independent.ie. The newspaper reported that it had been in contact with Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) and that it had said that Threads won’t be coming to the EU at this point.
The reason people in the United Kingdom will be able to use the app on Thursday is that the country doesn’t follow all the EU’s privacy laws following Brexit. A similar scenario popped up with regards to Google’s Bard AI which was launched in the UK just fine but has still not arrived in the EU.
According to the report, the DPC has not blocked Instagram Threads, instead, Meta is just not bothering to launch the platform in the EU yet to avoid getting into trouble with the regulators. Those who want to use it will have to wait until Meta has set it up so it complies with EU privacy laws.
The specific issue with Threads is that it will apparently pull in data from Instagram including health, location, search history, and other sensitive information. The DPC has previously stopped Meta from launching advertisements in WhatsApp that pull in data from Facebook or WhatsApp.
While we need to wait until Thursday for the launch of Threads, the service’s website is already available but it just contains a countdown to launch and a QR code that you can scan with your phone to download the mobile apps.
The download page on the Threads website has a pre-order button for the free iOS app and the Play Store option just says coming soon.
If Meta makes an announcement on the day it launches Threads, it could give us an estimate of when it plans to launch Threads in the EU. If not, prospective users will just have to wait.