Meta’s Threads Now Available In European Union

Meta Platforms has made available its Threads app in the European Union, five months after it had been launched in 100 countries, including the US and UK.

On Thursday Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the European launch in a Threads post, in which he welcomed Europe’s population of approximately 448 million people to the app.

The move is part of Meta’s efforts to grow the platform and challenge Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter).

Image credit Meta Platforms

Europe launch

On Thursday Zuckerberg posted: “today we’re opening Threads to more countries in Europe. Welcome everyone.”

Zuckerberg previously said he was aiming to grow Threads to more than 1 billion users worldwide in coming years.

To coincide with the European launch, Meta has offered European users the ability to browse Threads without needing a profile.

However, posting or interacting with content on Threads will still require an Instagram account.

Meta had launched Threads in July, which had been developed by Meta’s Instagram team who positioning it as a more friendly alternative to the notoriously toxic atmosphere commonly found on X.

At the July launch Meta had actively blocked European users from accessing Threads (even via VPN), due to the strict requirements of the EU’s Digital Markets Act. But now agreement has been reached for the app to launch in the EU.

User numbers

However Threads has some way to go if it hopes to provide a realistic challenge to Elon Musk’s X.

When it launched in July, Threads witnessed surging user demand, and it quickly grew its user base to 112 million, before active users declined.

In July an internal town hall meeting, Zuckerberg confirmed the app had lost more than half of its users in the weeks following its launch, and some blamed the decline on the lack of features in the launch app.

Since then Threads has received multiple updates, including a chronological feed of posts from the people or organisations that a user follows.

Meta also added a few other updates including a translation option, and another update that allows users in the Activity tab, to filter notifications by follows, replies, mentions, quoted posts, reposts and interactions from verified accounts.

Meta also introduced a follow button to make it easier to follow people back, and in August Meta released the desktop version of the Threads app.

This week Zuckerberg had also announced that Threads was being opened to other social media platforms (such as Mastodon) that use the ActivityPub protocol.

Musk controversy

The launch of Threads in Europe comes as X (aka Twitter) finds itself at the centre of extremist concerns, as well as an advertisers exodus that has not been helped by the outbursts from owner Elon Musk.

Last month the White House began creating many official accounts on Threads, just days after it directly criticised Elon Musk when he explicitly endorsed an anti-semitic conspiracy theory.

Meanwhile this week, data from Sensor Tower, revealed that large US companies including Walt Disney and Comcast have increased advertising spending on Meta’s Instagram, after pausing commercials on X last month.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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