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Meta Blocks EU Users From Accessing Threads App via VPN Amid Privacy Concerns

Amidst rising privacy concerns, Meta is blocking EU-based users from accessing its new Threads app, even via VPN. This step comes due to regulatory challenges in the EU.

Meta Blocks EU Users' Access to Threads App via VPN

Meta has confirmed reports that it is preventing EU-based users from accessing Instagram's new Threads app through VPN. The move follows the recent launch of Threads, which is not yet available in the EU due to privacy concerns. The company has taken additional measures to prevent users in Europe from accessing the app at this time, signaling its commitment to data protection regulations.

The Threads app collects a significant amount of personal data from its users, according to Meta's privacy policy and the app's iOS listing. This includes sensitive information such as health and financial data, precise location, browsing history, contacts, and search history. This extensive data collection poses legal and regulatory challenges for Meta within the EU, where stringent data protection laws require companies to have a valid legal basis for processing personal data for ad targeting.

The recent Court of Justice ruling, along with the Digital Markets Act, further complicates Meta's data handling practices, limiting how large companies can combine data for advertisements. The uncertainty surrounding the application of the DMA to Meta's use of data has reportedly contributed to the delay of Threads' launch in the EU.

Despite not being officially available in most of Europe, Threads has seen a successful start, crossing 100 million signups in a few days. However, with Sensor Tower reporting a 20% decrease in daily active users this week compared to Saturday, and a reduction in time spent on the app, it remains to be seen whether Threads will maintain its momentum or lose its appeal as the novelty of a Meta version of Twitter wears off.

Meta continues to update and improve the Threads app, including a recent update for iOS 17 and reduced binary size. However, engineer Cameron Roth points out that additional features such as web or desktop support are not as simple as "turning it on," indicating that the development and refinement of Threads will likely be an ongoing process.