With Twitter in the news for all the wrong reasons over the past couple of years, Meta (formerly Facebook) saw an opportunity to launch a competitor – and it seems to be succeeding.
What is Threads?
The service, dubbed Threads, was promoted as “a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations." Ten million people signed up in its first seven hours after launch, and it has now topped 30 million users in less than one week.
If you’re intrigued there are plenty of places online where you can find details on how it works and how it differs from Twitter. Our concern focuses on just one attribute – how it may impact your online privacy.
Is Threads Better at Protecting Privacy?
As we explained in this blog from 2022, Twitter paid a $150 million fine for illegally using peoples' personal data over six years. Sadly, it appears that Threads has the same lack of interest in data privacy and the security of its users as Facebook, which once paid a $5 billion (yes, billion) fine for sharing information “obtained for security purposes” with advertisers.
It’s all in the fine print, as it always is. Sign up for Threads and you give that platform permission to collect a wide range of personal information. They can obtain your browsing and search history. They can pinpoint your location. They can find out about anything you purchase online. They can get a list of your contacts. They can even access your financial and health information. And they’re still not done. They also receive access to what is only described as “sensitive” information within the platform’s privacy disclosure.
What Does Threads Do With Your Information?
When this content is collected and shared with advertisers, it inevitably makes its way onto the sites of data brokers and people-finder services – the kind that happily share it and sell it to anyone who asks.
If you’re reading this from Austria or Denmark or Spain or any of the 27 counties in the European Union, you may be asking, “What the heck is Threads?” That’s because the EU has strict data privacy rules, and as of now Threads does not conform to them, so the company has no plans to introduce the platform there. That should be the only red flag you need in deciding whether this service is right for you.
Perhaps one day the US will adopt the same online privacy standard as other nations. Until then, be aware of the risk and proceed accordingly.
One way you can protect your information? Online privacy protection. Try us risk-free and we’ll remove your home address from being found anywhere online: