Rumors said a few days ago that Meta was about to bring Threads to the major market it avoided this summer, the European Union (EU). Meta officially made Threads available in the EU on Thursday, complete with a feature that’s not available anywhere in the world. You can use Threads without an Instagram account in Europe, though the experience is limited.
The feature is likely there to address the EU’s more strict laws that govern big tech. The EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) is the latest example, and it has several protections in place for the user. That probably stopped Meta from launching Threads in the EU over the summer. We saw a similar approach from Google with Bard AI.
Threads saw a meteoric rise in July as Meta took advantage of two things. First, it kicked Twitter/X while it was down. That was back when Elon Musk thought it was a good idea to limit Twitter access. Secondly, and this is the most important one, it required Instagram to sign up for Threads.
Threads started as a feature of Instagram. And since the latter has hundreds of millions of users, it guaranteed the success of the former. Put differently, Meta cheated its way to 100 million Threads users.
But Meta did it without the EU countries, choosing not to risk angering regulators in the region. Laws like the DMA will prevent big tech companies from giving their own services preferential treatment.
You couldn’t even delete your Threads account without also deleting Instagram. However, Meta lets you deactivate Threads if you want to.
Fast-forward to December 14th, and the Threads experience EU looks different than what’s available in the US, UK, and other regions. You can browse Threads without a profile on the desktop and mobile. As Meta explains, the profile-free experience is limited, however:
People in the EU can choose to create a Threads profile that is connected to their Instagram account – which means they get the same experience as everyone else around the world – or use Threads without a profile. People who use Threads without a profile can browse content on Threads, search for accounts, share content via link copying or platform sharing, and report Threads content, but can’t create a post or interact with content.
You still need to use your Instagram account to create a Threads profile to post on the Twitter/X alternative and interact with other content.