Meta’s Twitter clone, called Threads, is a hair away from release, and already the discussion rages on whether Mark Zuckerberg’s latest attempt to copy what already exists will do what few bird app imitators have yet to accomplish. From what we know so far, Threads will be a relatively pared-down version of Twitter to start and will require an Instagram account. And users in the EU are apparently out of luck, for now.
According to teaser posts on Instagram and early listings on the App Store and Google Play store, Threads is set to release Thursday. Those who type “Threads” into Instagram search receive a Willy Wonka-esque ticket noting the app should be out by 10 a.m. ET. Using Threads will require an Instagram account, and usernames should be ported over into the new app.
There’s already a host of companies and select influencers on Threads. Business Insider reported that some content creators gained early access with the expectation that they promote the fact that they’ve fully become Thread heads once the app sees full release. According to leaked screenshots, other current Threads users include an official Netflix account, Instagram head Adam Mosseri, and the Zuck himself. Leaker Alessandro Paluzzi noted current Threads testers include influencers like Adam Waheed and Vogue editor at large Gabriella Karefa-Johnson.
As far as functionality goes, things seem to be relatively light to start. Screenshots show you can like, reply, direct message, and re…thread posts. Of course, you can follow and be followed by accounts, and users should receive the option to follow all the same accounts they do on Instagram. Threads Users can make any “threads” posts available to anyone, profiles you follow, or only those “@” mentioned.
Beyond the obvious similarities between Threads and Twitter, the new clone is a Meta app through and through. According to the App Store listing, the app tracks all the same data that Instagram already does, which is to say quite a lot. Ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was quick to point out the large amount of data being siphoned from users. Billionaire Twitter owner Elon Musk was also quick to jump on the anti-Threads train just before it left the station, all while ignoring all the data that Twitter already tracks from its users. Twitter is far from blameless on the user data front, and it has had to pay fines to the Federal Trade Commission over mishandling that data.
But Meta’s ravenous data collection practices mean the new app won’t be available in places with tougher regulations than the U.S. An anonymous person familiar with the situation at Meta told Bloomberg that the company won’t be releasing Threads in any country in the European Union, at least not yet. The Irish Independent also received confirmation from the country’s Data Protection Commission that Threads won’t see an EU release “at this point.”
Zuckerberg and co. are reportedly waiting to see how their new app will interact with the Digital Markets Act. The law is meant to curtail anti-competitive behavior from big tech companies, and the European Commission is supposed to offer more expectations and guidance by September.
Gizmodo reached out to Meta for comment on where Threads will be accessible, but we did not immediately hear back.
Despite the data implications, Meta’s Threads is coming out with impeccable timing. Rivals like Bluesky are seeing record traffic, forcing the app to temporarily pause new sign-ups. Musk’s recent attempts to add rate limits on users backfired as the sweeping changes broke multiple systems like embedded tweets and TweetDeck. Unregistered users have also been blocked from reading tweets without signing up first. Instagram does restrict outside users from seeing content without an account, and we’ll get to see tomorrow if that remains consistent with Threads.