Meta Blocks Access to Instagram’s Threads App in EU Despite VPN Efforts

Meta, the parent company of Instagram, has confirmed that it is blocking users in the European Union (EU) from accessing its new social app called Threads. The decision comes after complaints from EU-based users who were unable to access the app through VPN services.

Threads, which was launched by Meta last week, has raised privacy concerns among users. As a result, Meta decided to restrict access to the app in the EU. In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Meta acknowledged that Threads is currently unavailable in most European countries and stated that additional measures have been implemented to prevent users based there from accessing it.

The blocking of Threads in Europe poses legal and regulatory challenges for Meta due to EU data protection laws. Under these laws, Meta must have a valid legal basis for processing personal data for ad targeting purposes. However, recent rulings by the Court of Justice have created uncertainty around this issue.

In addition, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a new antitrust regime in the EU, places limitations on how large tech companies can combine data for advertising purposes. Meta has reportedly cited uncertainty regarding the application of DMA rules as one of the reasons for delaying the launch of Threads in Europe.

Despite not being officially available in most European countries, Threads has garnered significant attention since its launch. The app reached over 100 million signups within a few days. However, according to analytics monitoring firm Sensor Tower, daily active user numbers dropped by 20% compared to Saturday, and time spent on the app also decreased.

The future success of Threads remains uncertain as it faces competition and potential user fatigue. While initially popular due to curiosity surrounding a Twitter-like app developed by Meta, it remains to be seen if this buzz will fade over time.

In other news related to Threads, Meta recently updated the iOS version of the app with support for iOS 17 and reduced binary size along with some other minor improvements. However, engineer Cameron Roth explained that enabling web or desktop support is not a simple task, suggesting that these features may not be available in the near future.

Meta has expressed its commitment to the European market and hopes to make Threads available in Europe at some point. However, for now, EU-based users will continue to be unable to access the app, raising concerns about privacy and data protection in the region.