That rapid growth has concerned privacy experts, who warn that few users realize just how much information the app collects. They point out that Meta has put the launch of Threads in the European Union on hold because it’s unclear whether the way the company handles user data and shares it across different platforms, including Threads, will run afoul of impending privacy regulations.
“Several of the privacy concerns with Threads tie back to Meta’s history of concerning privacy practices,” said Calli Schroeder, senior counsel and global privacy counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic), a digital privacy nonprofit. “I haven’t seen any evidence that Meta is being transparent about what it will do with sensitive personal data or is clearly establishing why it is collecting that data other than ‘because we want to’.”
The list of past practices that give experts like Schroeder cause for concern is long. In addition to being under a FTC consent decree because of previous improper collection and use of data in the US, Meta has also been fined for collecting sensitive personal data without obtaining the proper consent under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).