Meta has made considerable strides in broadening its user base by launching the Threads platform in the European Union. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, has officially announced the expansion, indicating that the company has extended its reach within Europe. Following its successful debut in over 100 countries, including the US and the UK in mid-2023, this introduction to the European market opens up the platform to an additional 448 million people.
Navigating Regulatory Landscapes
While Threads is now accessible to EU users, it arrives amid a complex regulatory climate. The delay in its EU launch has been widely attributed to the implications of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a predatory piece of legislation aimed at curtailing the power of tech giants and fostering a competitive market. Despite Meta not directly citing the DMA, Instagram's head, Adam Mosseri, has hinted at legislative complexities as culprits for the postponement. With Meta designated as a “gatekeeper” by the DMA, the company is under pressure to align with legislative demands by March 2024.
The relationship between Threads and Instagram—a point of contention for EU regulators—has somewhat evolved. In November, Meta introduced a change allowing users to deactivate their Threads accounts independently of Instagram. This signifies an effort to alleviate concerns regarding anti-competitive practices, such as self-preferencing. However, active participation on Threads, including posting and interaction, still necessitates an Instagram account.
Performance and User Retention
The success of Threads has been notable, rapidly securing 100 million users shortly after its initial launch, leveraging the vast user pool of Instagram and the tumult surrounding Elon Musk's rebranded Twitter platform, X. Nevertheless, according to third-party data, the challenge remains for Meta to retain its user base beyond the initial interest spike. With the European launch, Threads is expected to gain a surge of new users. What remains to be seen is whether the platform has sufficiently innovated and enriched its feature set to maintain a substantial and engaged user community in the long term.
Threads is a text-based social networking app that was launched by Meta in early July 2023. The app is a companion app for Instagram, which means that users need to log in with their Instagram credentials and can share their posts to their Instagram stories. Threads allows users to create and join conversations across Meta's platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.