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If you live in an EU country and you’ve tried downloading Threads through a VPN, you probably failed.
Many users have already complained about not being able to access the new platform this way. Now, Meta has confirmed it’s blocking EU users from Threads on purpose.
EU users can no longer use Threads with a VPN
When the platform launched earlier this month, users from the EU were able to register by changing their location through a VPN. This is no longer possible.
Those who did it when Threads first launched can still access their accounts, but they can’t count on the loophole to continue working for much longer.
Now, if you try using a virtual private network to sign up for Threads, you’ll find the platform to be unresponsive.
Meta has confirmed in a statement that it’s taking “further measures” to stop users from countries where Threads isn’t supported from accessing it.
However, the company has said that Europe continues to be an important market. And it hopes to expand the availability of its new social network there soon.
While Meta hasn’t provided a timeline yet, it doesn’t look like this will happen soon. The app is still rough around the edges, as it currently doesn’t support some important features, such as hashtags.
So, it’s natural to assume Meta will focus on that first.
The availability of Threads
At the moment, Threads is available in over 100 countries, including the US and UK. However, it remains unavailable in EU countries.
Data collection is the biggest reason why the platform still hasn’t arrived in most of Europe. The app extensively tracks its users, gathering information such as location, contacts, browsing history, and financial data.
Under EU data protection law, Meta has to provide a valid legal reason to collect such sensitive info. This is the area where the company has been struggling after a recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling.
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) creates further problems for how Meta can track its users for targeted ads.
Another problem is that the DMA prevents companies from prioritizing their products over their competition. This could prove to be a problem for Meta given that you can sign up for Threads through Instagram.
The fines for violating any rules set by this law can be hefty. A company could lose 10% of its annual revenue for violating them, and even 20% of it for repeated infringements.
Meta has faced various problems with user data, especially after the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Also, Instagram collects 79% of users’ personal information, and many of them are unhappy about how the company treats their data.
Despite being unavailable in most of Europe, Threads has seen massive success since its release. It drew over 100 million users who are now set up on the platform.
At 70 million signups, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the number was beyond the company’s expectations.