Meta Threads and Twitter significant privacy Issues, The recent launch of Meta’s social media app, Instagram Threads, has sparked privacy concerns, especially in the European Union (EU) where the app is currently unavailable. Despite the restrictions, several EU residents have found workarounds to obtain a Threads account. However, the future availability of Threads in the EU remains uncertain due to the region’s stringent privacy regulations. This article compares the privacy issues associated with Threads and Twitter , shedding light on the concerns raised by users and regulatory bodies.
Sensitive Personal Information Collection:
Threads collects highly sensitive personal information, including sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, biometric data, trade union membership, pregnancy status, politics, and religious beliefs. There are concerns that this data may be shared with third-party advertising and marketing firms, raising questions about user privacy and the potential for unauthorized use.
Employment-Related Data Collection:
Threads also collects employment-related information, such as users’ company, role on the team, job history, and performance evaluations. The sharing of such data with third parties raises concerns about the confidentiality of employment-related information and the potential misuse of this data.
Body-Related Data Collection:
Users’ health, fitness, and exercise habits are collected by Threads, which may also be shared with third parties. The collection of such data raises privacy concerns as health-related information is highly sensitive and requires special protection.
Web Activity Data Collection:
Threads may collect users’ browsing history, web page interactions (including ads), and the referring web page or source through which they accessed Threads links. This information may be shared with third parties, compromising user privacy and enabling targeted advertising based on browsing behavior.
Location Data Collection:
Threads may collect users’ location data, including photos, videos, or other recordings of their environment and IP-address-based location information. This data, when shared with third parties, raises concerns about tracking, surveillance, and potential unauthorized access to location information.
Inability to Delete Threads without Deleting Instagram:
One significant issue with Threads is that users cannot delete the app without also deleting their Instagram account. This lack of independent control over Threads raises concerns about user autonomy and the difficulty of disengaging from the platform while maintaining access to other services.
Why the EU Is Paying Attention: Threads’ data collection practices, particularly regarding sensitive information, may violate the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data protection regulations in the EU. Meta’s reliance on behavioral advertising and profiling users without explicit consent raises concerns about privacy compliance. The European Court of Justice’s ruling against Facebook’s targeted ad model further adds to the scrutiny of Meta’s practices.
Potential Penalties and Legal Uncertainty:
Meta has faced fines of €1.2 billion and restrictions on transferring user data from the EU to the US, which presents significant obstacles to Threads’ launch in the EU. The incoming Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulations and potential penalties pose financial risks to Meta’s data-driven business model. Moreover, the regulatory landscape in the UK, which differs from the EU due to Brexit, may have implications for privacy protections in the future.
Twitter’s Privacy Concerns:
Twitter, a well-established social media platform, also faces privacy concerns. Similar to Threads, Twitter collects a significant amount of user data, including personal information, posts, interactions, and browsing behavior. Concerns arise regarding Twitter’s data-sharing practices with third-party companies, as well as the retention and handling of deleted tweets. Lack of transparency in data practices and algorithmic decision-making also raises user privacy concerns.
Both Instagram Threads and Twitter face significant privacy issues, albeit with some variations. The collection and usage of sensitive personal information, employment-related data, body-related data, web activity data, and location data are concerns shared by both platforms. The inability to delete Threads without deleting Instagram adds to the unique challenges posed by the app. As privacy regulations continue to evolve, platforms like Threads and Twitter must prioritize user privacy and transparency to build trust among their users and regulatory bodies.