Meta's social media platform, Threads, has successfully launched in the European Union, marking a significant expansion following its introduction in over 100 countries, including the US and the UK, in July 2023. The announcement came from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who shared the news on the Threads platform.
EU Access Granted
Until now, Threads had been unavailable to half a million potential users residing in the EU, with the company even blocking access via VPN. The delayed entry into the EU market was primarily attributed to the introduction of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a legislative framework designed to regulate Big Tech and ensure fair competition.
The delay in Threads' EU launch was, in part, due to Meta's status as a "gatekeeper" under the DMA. Instagram head Adam Mosseri acknowledged the complexities of complying with the evolving legal landscape and the DMA's regulations, which companies like Meta must adhere to by March 2024.
Unique User Experience
To coincide with the EU launch, Meta introduced a notable feature, allowing users in the region to browse Threads without a profile. Users on Threads without a profile can view content, search for accounts, share content through links or other platforms, and report content. However, active participation, such as posting or interacting with content, still requires an Instagram account.
Integration and Evolution
Speculation has surrounded Threads' integration with Instagram, especially concerning potential conflicts with EU regulations. While Threads initially achieved rapid user acquisition by leveraging its connection with Instagram, recent updates have aimed to address concerns. In mid-November, the platform allowed users to delete their Threads account without affecting their Instagram account. However, essential links between the services persist, as an Instagram account is still required to post on Threads.
Distinguishing Threads from X
Threads sets itself apart from X in various aspects. Users can post messages with up to 500 characters, surpassing X's limit of 280 characters (4,000 in the paid version). Initially lacking topic search functionality, Threads has evolved to include thematic tags, offering a unique approach to managing spam.
Though Threads and X share similar functionalities as messaging apps, users note that X allows more expressive freedom, while Threads is often described as being more 'clean' and moderated.
In conclusion, Threads' expansion into the EU represents a strategic move by Meta, overcoming regulatory obstacles and bringing its innovative social platform to a vast new audience. The ongoing evolution of Threads and its ability to adapt to user preferences will undoubtedly shape its success in the competitive social media landscape.