Is Threads safe? EU launch delayed over privacy fears

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Meta officially unveiled its Twitter competitor, Threads, to 100 countries yesterday, racking up 30 million users in its first 24 hours. Although the app is now available in 100 countries, including Australia, the US, UK, Canada, Japan and New Zealand, privacy concerns have put a pin in Threads' EU launch.

Two recent rulings by the European Court of Justice essentially banning Meta's targeted advertising model and the transfer of EU user data to the US mean the launch of Threads in the EU is indefinitely delayed.

For users outside the EU, however, it raises an important question—just how safe is your data?

What data Threads collects from you

As a Meta product, Threads falls under the wider privacy policy shared by Facebook and Instagram. The data collected under this policy includes:

  • User-provided information. This includes content you create and interact with, camera content, unencrypted messages, metadata, ad interaction, app and feature usage data, purchases and transactions made, hashtags used, and the time, frequency and duration of app usage.
  • Friends, followers and other connections. This includes information about your friends, followers, groups, accounts, Facebook pages, users and communities you interact with, information about your device contacts, and inferred information about you based on other users' activity.
  • App, browser and device information. This refers to data collected regarding the device you use to access Meta products, including device type, software, device usage (e.g. if their app is running in the background or foreground), family device IDs, any shared GPS or camera data, network information, location-based information, performance, and cookies.
  • Information from partners, vendors and other third parties. This refers to the data Meta receives about you from outside their apps, including websites you visit, apps you use, games you play, purchases and transactions you make, demographic information, ad interaction, and how you use Meta's partners' products and services both online and in person.

That said, Threads has its own supplementary privacy policy which discloses additional data collected from Threads users on top of what Meta already collects, including the following:

  • Threads profile information, such as your name, email address, settings and preferences. Some information is already granted to Threads via Instagram, as an Instagram account is required to access Threads. It's also important to note that, in order to delete your Threads account, you must also delete your Instagram account.
  • Threads activity, including the content you create and interact with, metadata, feature usage, hashtags used (interestingly, hashtags are currently not a feature on Threads), and the time, frequency and duration of Threads usage.
  • Threads followers and other connections. This includes information about your followers and other users you interact with on Threads, including how you interact with them across other Meta products like Instagram.
  • Information from third parties and users, which includes data collected about you when interacting with Threads through a third-party service, such as your account and profile data on that third-party service.

Both the Meta and the supplemental Threads privacy policies discuss the type of data they collect quite generally, but thanks to a 2020 change that requires any app listed on the Apple App Store to list the exact information they collect data on, we know that Threads also accesses the following personal data:

  • Health and fitness
  • Financial info
  • Contact info
  • Use content
  • Browsing history
  • Usage data
  • Diagnostics
  • Purchases
  • Location
  • Contacts
  • Search history
  • Identifiers
  • Sensitive onfo
  • Other data

How Threads uses your data

It's still very early days for Threads, but as Meta's business model is driven by advertising revenue, it's only a matter of time before your Threads feed is filled with as many ads as Facebook and Instagram.

While Meta doesn't sell the data it collects about you, it does use it to show you personalised ads based on that data.

Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot you can do to avoid Meta's data harvesting aside from opting out of Threads altogether.

In a Thread, NSW Greens Senator David Shoebridge urged local regulators to take action to protect user data.

"We shouldn't have to give up troves of our data in order to use communication platforms which have become vitally important in our lives," he argues.

Georgia Dixon
Written by
Georgia Dixon
Georgia Dixon has 10 years of experience writing about all things tech, entertainment and lifestyle. She has bylines on, 7NEWS,, in TechLife magazine and more. In 2023 she won Best News Writer at the Consensus IT Awards, and in 2024 she was a finalist for Best News Journalist at the Samsung IT Journalism Awards (The Lizzies). In her spare time, you'll find her playing games and daydreaming about good food, wine, and dogs.

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