back to article Meta's data-hungry Threads skips over EU but lands in Britain

Elon Musk's Twitter can breathe easy when it comes to the European Union – Meta's "Threads" will be steering clear. This is because Mark Zuckerberg's company – which owns Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, and more – will not launch its new Twitter-like service anywhere in the EU for the foreseeable future. But yes, it …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    "Other Data"

    What the F is that supposed to mean ?

    It is not surprising that they are releasing in the UK - our ICO has long been a chocolate teapot.

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      Re: "Other Data"

      However, if the UK decides this kind of thing is fine and the EU decides it isn't, that pretty much scuppers the "adequacy" decision.

    2. Captain Hogwash

      Re: "Other Data"

      Anything they think of later.

    3. NATTtrash

      Re: "Other Data"

      And then we not even talking about that other one, "sensitive data"...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Other Data"

      How else are the Republicans going to compile their "who to persecute" list for when they get back in?

      More evidence that Meta is just a public front for the CIA I think..

    5. ITMA Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: "Other Data"

      "our ICO has long been a chocolate teapot."

      Ah, there IS a difference. Chocolate teapots at least can be eaten and taste nice.

      Not so the ICO (I imagine)

      1. NLCSGRV

        Re: "Other Data"

        That depends on who manufactured the chocolate. If the teapot was made by Hershey's, they jury would be out on the "tastes nice" part.

  2. Brynstero0

    big slurps

    that's a bit list of data slurping, I think I will avoid....

    Mines the phone with GrapheneOS installed

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: big slurps

      that's a bit list of data slurping

      Not so much slurping as 'gulping ravenously'

      AKA 'drinking from the fire hose'

      1. ITMA Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: big slurps

        Think more Blue Whale:

        "Blue whales capture krill through lunge feeding, they swim towards them at high speeds as they open their mouths up to 80°. They may engulf 220 metric tons (220 long tons; 240 short tons) of water at one time."

  3. codejunky Silver badge

    Eh?

    "However, it might come as a surprise to some that Meta doesn't appear to anticipate any regulatory trouble in the UK."

    Why? The UK isnt in the EU and so doesnt need to stop products and services available in the world that the EU doesnt approve of.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      Shut up you moron.

      All EU laws that were introduced before Brexit are also UK laws. Unless those laws have been repealed they are still UK laws and should be enforced.

      GDPR has not, yet, been repealed so this app is in fact collecting data illegally under UK law.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        Seems Zuckerborg and Google (Bard) know ICO enforcement is toothless and their lobbying works.

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        @iron

        "Shut up you moron."

        So much for an intelligent conversation. Do you think we are still in the EU or agree that we are out so can make our own decisions on products and services? If it breaks a UK law the UK can enforce it. If its a law the UK doesnt wish to continue with it can be removed.

        1. demon driver

          Re: Eh?

          Nothing of what you yourself write is intelligent. The first intelligent question you should ask in this context is whether Meta *should* be allowed to collect and share all kinds of personal/private user data between their several sub-companies and services. Or do you think a law is good and just, just because it exists? Also, you could have a look at your domestic law and find out whether they actually *are* allowed to do that in your country at all. Are they?

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Eh?

            @demon driver

            "The first intelligent question you should ask in this context is whether Meta *should* be allowed to collect and share all kinds of personal/private user data between their several sub-companies and services."

            Why? Should is a very fuzzy word, short of context.

            "Or do you think a law is good and just, just because it exists?"

            Eh what? A law is a restriction which can be applied for good reasons, bad reasons or just have consequences beyond the intention. It is a blunt instrument which needs to be used carefully.

            "Also, you could have a look at your domestic law and find out whether they actually *are* allowed to do that in your country at all. Are they?"

            This is where I used the word if. I dont assume they are breaking the law and as we are out of the EU the UK could change laws it disagrees with.

            "Nothing of what you yourself write is intelligent."

            Come back with a better comment.

        2. katrinab Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Eh?

          But we have decided, for now anyway, to have the same law as the EU. That may change in future, but my guess is it won't happen any time soon.

          The government say they will change it, but I don't think there is enough time left before the next election for them to do it, and there may well be a change of government after the election, and the new government will have different priorities.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Eh?

            One of the parting gift from the natural party of government will be to dismantle the GDPR this Autumn.

            1. EnviableOne

              Re: Eh?

              the thing is GDPR doesnt go far enough, and the ICO were part of the faction campaigning for it to be stricter, so being allowed to go our own way does not necessarily mean restrictions will be relaxed. The ICO were trying to give GDPR the teeth to make companies and board members criminally liable for data protection

              1. RobLang

                Re: Eh?

                While I completely agree that the ICO wanted to go further - the UK could have implemented a more strict version even under the EU law that we were in the process of departing from. GDPR has always been a baseline that member states could exceed. It's difficult to know why the government didn't follow the advice at the time. When GDPR was finalised in 2018, Theresa May was in government and trying to negotiate a Brexit deal but the core ideals were pretty much agreed in 2015 (way before the Brexit vote). So Cameron's government could have planned an extension to it but didn't.

                I think criminal liability for board members in many industries is the only way to go. Otherwise responsibility is never really owned - board members might resign publicly but in 6 months they're in a new C-level role elsewhere and all is forgotten.

            2. Captain Hogwash

              Re: the natural party of government

              Please use quotes. It's not good to propagate the lie.

        3. gandalfcn Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          codejunky continues with its obvious trolling.

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Eh?

            And here I was thinking that Prigozhin had dismantled his troll farm. I guess the GRB are still on the job, promoting Russian interests in the West.

            See, that's how you troll right-whingers like CJ.

            1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: Eh?

              Oh look, I garnered some down-votes during Russian working hours, but it looks like they're on a skeleton staff now...

              1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Eh?

                I use the troll icon, but still they bite...

    2. Tron Silver badge

      Re: Eh?

      The UK has a bill going through that may well cut us off from every major internet service out there (including Wikipedia). Other sites will geoblock UK users fearing they might be sued. Some US newspaper sites have been blocking all European users since GDPR was implemented.The daft porn ID idiocy looks like it is returning too. If you thought Brexit was bad enough offline, wait till the government take back control of their digital borders. From an internet to Viewdata in one act of parliament.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        @Tron

        "If you thought Brexit was bad enough offline, wait till the government take back control of their digital borders"

        All governments seem to be invading the internet freedoms at the moment, its not a good thing of course but then I am against excessive government anyway.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: Eh?

          I am against excessive government anyway

          But you are happy for excess corporations to rape you and your children's data privacy at every turn?

          Strange way of prioritising "freedom".

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Eh?

            @Paul Crawford

            "But you are happy for excess corporations to rape you and your children's data privacy at every turn?"

            Rape is illegal. Especially bad against children. But to take you barely more serious, who is putting a gun to you and your childrens heads for your data? And you dont seem to realise that data is collected on you all the time, its not some sucking out of your soul that eats away your life force. It is by itself benign and very ambiguous. And what nefarious use are we looking at here that is so damn scary that nobody will use it anyway? Or do you fear its not so scary so people will freely choose to use it?

            I assume you were recently born and missed the days of creation for Google, facebook, twitter, etc? Or you have forgotten how data was used to make a search engine that actually found what you were looking for, a place people inexplicably paste their lives for the world to see and a messaging system that has been used from cat videos, porn and uprisings.

            1. EnviableOne

              Re: Eh?

              even in the USofA COPPA is supposed to protect kids right to privacy, just wish someone thought of the adults for once.

    3. katrinab Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Eh?

      Our data protection law is a copy-paste of EU law though.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        @katrinab

        "Our data protection law is a copy-paste of EU law though."

        See the comment from Dan 55 or the latest reg article. Looks like the gov is planning to make changes this year.

        1. BebopWeBop

          Re: Eh?

          The UK government plans many things, but achieves nothing.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Eh?

            @BebopWeBop

            "The UK government plans many things, but achieves nothing."

            I gave you a thumbs up but I think the gov achieves some real negatives. I dont restrict that to the UK gov either.

            1. BebopWeBop

              Re: Eh?

              I bow to your superior refinement.

        2. katrinab Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Eh?

          Yes, but like I said elsewhere in this thread, I don't think there is the parliamentary time available to do it before the next election.

  4. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Zuk

    Zuk is a disgusting individual

    His company is a discussing company

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    "GDPR has not, yet, been repealed so this app is in fact collecting data illegally under UK law."

    How is it illegal if the user consents? I can't see why they would consent, but some will, I suppose.

    Out of interest, how does that humongous list compare to data collected by the Facebook and Instagram apps?

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      It's only consent if it's informed consent.

      It's only informed consent if it's clear what's being collected and what it's being used for.

      "Is it OK to collect some personal stuff and give it to a bunch of people we'll decide on later?" would appear to fall a little below the threshold.

      1. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

        "It's only informed consent if it's clear what's being collected and what it's being used for."

        Everything, and So we can sell it, respectively. That ridiculously long list makes it fairly clear what's being collected, though "other data" is somewhat opaque.

        Can't imagine why anyone would agree to that amount of slurping, but I'm sure some will. Their choice, I guess.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Opt in

          not opt out.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Opt in

            And, for GDPR, it has to be opt-in.

        2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Devil

          Other data covers anything that is not yet in the list of data that Google will slurp using Android 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20...

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        It's also not informed consent if you cannot use the service without agreeing to those privacy shafting terms, as it becomes essentially coerced* consent.

        * Plenty of people, if they want something badly enough, will trade privacy for whatever the new must have shiny thing on offer is rather than miss out.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or, you know, their job makes them

          Because your company can't buy into the platform without having accounts on it. Or for example, in Ye Olde Dayz, the way Facbook forced people to sign up for a Facebook account and agree to their T&C's if they wanted to OPT OUT of use of their likeness and personal info for mass facial scanning. Or to opt out of daily spam messages about how many times some moron with your email or phone in their contacts "mentioned" you.

          So yeah, 100% agree about the problems created by "fake consent" and as suck think we need to continue to mandate limits on what data can be collected at all, what needs explicit consent, and the limits of a company to use "clickware" T&Cs that they can change at any time to enforce terms on users.

    2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

      Because without the government to wipe our backsides and remind us to brush our teeth, where would we be?

      Thank god some places have governments that love their citizens enough to ban them for making their own choices.

    3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Even if someone consents to you killing them, cutting off their genitals and eating them, for some reason it's still against the law.

      It's a bit of an extreme example, but the general principle here is that criminal law supersedes civil law. It's a crime, even if you signed a contract saying it's okay.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Nobody in their right mind would agree to that.

        However reasonable people may choose to trade their personal data for cat videos and news that's been ran past the Democrat Party's Censorship Unit.

        If that's what they want, it is outrageous that government think that they have the right to tell you that you aren't allowed.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          It's not quite like that, however. GDPR gives provisions for opting in to any data sharing you care to do, the main point here is that it is illegal to require it, or to make it opt-out. You might claim such consent is informed, but then you must be the only person who reads EULAs and has their lawyer give them the once over before agreeing to them.

  6. Inkey
    Big Brother

    Also anyone know what "sensitive data'" is....

    they should just come out and say we monitor and store every single thing a user does and sell that to anyone who pays .....ffs when will people understand that what they take from users is worth orders of magnatude more than what the "free" platform is worth....

    NO THANKS!

  7. Tron Silver badge

    These people are idiots.

    Scraping all of this personal data is absolutely no benefit for the targeting of ads. Individual preferences are far more important.

    All an advertiser wants is for the person who sees their ads, to be known to have an interest in it. So all GAFA need to do is ask users what sort of content they want to see in ads. No personal information needs to be scraped, no laws are an issue. You are going to see ads to pay for the service, and you can choose which sorts.

    Can someone please fork an e-mail client and expand it to move rich content around via encrypted e-mail, user to user to create a distributed social media client. Users can submit preferences for what sort of ads they want to see. Then you will replace GAFA and make a fortune, and we can have the social media we want.

    1. Fonant
      Big Brother

      Re: These people are idiots.

      Scraping all of this personal data is absolutely no benefit for the targeting of ads.

      But Facebook is also used for influencing elections. Remember Cambridge Analytica? For that purpose, which commands very high fees, the personal and financial information is extremely valuable.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: These people are idiots.

        This has been debunked.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: These people are idiots.

          [citation required]

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: These people are idiots.

          Which things have been debunked? Becuase as a non-specific broadside it won't hold water.

          Facebook has been only to happy to rake in money while offering highly targeted ads filled with political misinformation, all over the world. Cold Fact.

          Cambridge Analytica sold itself in part based on those capabilities, but defrauded its clients more than it moved the needle on the campaigns they ran. Well established and documented in this esteemed rag at the time.

          And the eagerness of certain political factions to lift restrictions on facebook/meta to allow them to go back to spewing political lies, hate speech and misinformation speaks to the degree which their customers have become dependent on Facebook ads as a tool.

          So what precisely was debunked again? There are plenty of tinfoil hat theories trotted around, but non seemed clearly mentioned here.

    2. Plest Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: These people are idiots.

      "Scraping all of this personal data is absolutely no benefit for the targeting of ads. "

      Of course not, but they know it will have some value at some point in the future, so "stack 'em, pack 'em and rack 'em" 'cos here comes the cash!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: These people are idiots.

      Facebook has proven that plenty of companies love to be able to pay for Microtargeted ads. The also proved that they are happy do so even when it's illegal, and will fight tooth an nail to keep doing it.

      It's terrible, it's constantly abused, and it ought to be illegal everywhere is isn't already. But it does work.

      That does not mean that voluntary interest based advertising wouldn't also be valuable to advertisers, as genuine interest is by definition accurate, while inferred interest often isn't. The problem is people don't generally want to toggle a bunch of interest switches or be pestered with survey questions constantly. Hence such platforms exist but a rounding error of total ad spending.

  8. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Threads release in the UK

    Maybe it's just me, perhaps one of those UK/US language differences (like how the Ford Probe was all glamorous one side but snirked at the other), but I'm still finding it hard to read that name "Threads" and get an immediate happy feeling.

    I've already mentioned the film (and today my search results have pretty much been "Meta releases...", "about the film", "Meta", " film", "Meta", "film" the page scrolls down, just to enforce the association with nuclear winter).

    But aside from that, the next associations are:

    * warnings not to pull on loose Threads

    * that the only way to safe in a world with Threads arriving is to be a dragon rider and burn it from the sky

    * to fear the Season Of Mists, as Atropos cuts your thread from the tapestry (although goth Death is cute)

    * stuff about threadworms (ah, Golden Schooldays, the Best Days of Your Life - no, I didn't but Barry gleefully described his little problem - bleugh)

    On the plus side, as this is a computery forum, Threaded Interpreted Languages are cool, but then multithreaded code is the source of so much woe.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Threads release in the UK

      I'm still finding it hard to read that name "Threads" and get an immediate happy feeling.

      I have always called posts and replies on particular topics in newsgroups and forums "threads" so it's just a shrug from me, no emotion either way; feels a reasonable name to choose.

      The huge data grab which comes with it I could get emotional about but, as I have no intention of signing-up myself, it's still a "meh".

      I might however pull the Threads DVD from the 'cataclysmic doom and oh shit" section of my bookcase to celebrate its arrival.

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Threads release in the UK

        Hmm.. FWIW I call those "conversations".

        1. nobody who matters

          Re: Threads release in the UK

          If you frequent any forums that run on XenForo (which seems to be most of them nowadays), a 'Conversation' is what used to be private/personal messages. The use of the same word for different meanings and in different contexts becomes increasingly confusing.

          An opening message followed by a series of responses/replies has been universally referred to as a 'thread', going right back to the days of basic message boards, probably even further.

    2. Evil Scot Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: That film...

      I am surprised given how often the photo of the traffic warden appears on the Facebook groups that they have no idea.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    tl;dr All your data are belong to us!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Compare and contrast data collected by Threads with the data collected by the official Mastodon app.

      1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        That Mastodon app release notes has a nice snark to it!

      2. ludicrous_buffoon

        Meta: but... but... muh genuine business purposes!

  10. Emir Al Weeq

    Will I now receive lots of consent requests?

    I'm in a lot of people's contact lists. I would like to think that every one of them who installs Threads will ask me my permission for them to share my details with Threads before granting it access to their contact list.

    Just like they did when installing Facebook. Not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will I now receive lots of consent requests?

      Don’t have friends.

      Well over rated.

  11. Dinanziame Silver badge

    Watch or for the DMA

    There's a lot of interesting stuff in the DMA. From what I understand, it also forces messaging systems to interoperate in the long term, and it forces Google to share data with other search engines.

  12. ChoHag Silver badge

    > The full data policy for the new Threads app, as listed by its developer, Meta's Instagram, here – click to enlarge

    I think it's large enough already.

  13. demon driver

    By the way, you can delete your Threads profile...

    ... but that also deletes your Instagram account. You can't do one without the other (source: Slashdot).

    That alone should be enough for a sensible data protection law to make Threads illegal, and it might be one of the reasons why they don't try a rollout in the EU yet.

  14. SpudWLike
    Joke

    I read Threads, but I imagine Threadworms.

    Anyone need a nice piece of Axminster to rub themselves on?

  15. BebopWeBop
    Facepalm

    Leave the sharks at Twitter to rejoin the barracudas at Meta... What are these fools thinking of? Oh, maybe just ensuring that everyone who did not have all of their personal data really does now!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who has resolutely refused to join any Facebook/meta service (much to the confusion of the people who regular say "we're setting up a WhatsApp group for this ... can I add you" and then start to go on about how WhatsApp isn't Facebook when I say I don't do Facebook) then it's a bit meh for me.

    But, the fact that they are not allowing people in the EU to join is interesting as in the ongoing battles between these companies and the EU I've been waiting for one to say "ok, we won't allow people in the EU to access the service then" and then see if there's any reaction from people about not being allowed to play with the latest online toys.

  17. Dronius

    Looking at the list it seems that Apple App Store believe that if you agree to consent to the terms then Meta & their group / customers get access to "Contacts", as in their app. Apple does not indicate any limit on the information shared from Contacts so they must just open the door once granted as there's no granular data selection options in the app or privacy setting . I presume this means Meta or whoever you share contacts with currently get the lot. So anyone consenting to use Threads or Instagram is allowing their entire contact information to be shared without any consultation or consent from the people concerned.

    If you have friends in the EU or covered by the GDPR then you'd be in breach of these laws by signing up to the apps without your contacts expressly opting in to allowing you to do so.

    By that measure the UK (with our current legislation) is already in breach of it's own laws by allowing the Threads & Instagram to proceed unchecked. As for "adequacy" for protection of any EU citizen contacts, that's gone as of the launch & however many infringing UK sign ups have happened already.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The os MAY prompt for access

      The basic security model requires the user specifically allow a bunch of the possible permissions, and for some like always on location tracking it will frequently prompt you to confirm access even when you have done so dozens of times.

      That said, due to literally promoting genocide, Metafaces's apps should be banned from the App stores on both Apple and Google devices. Google's reasons would of course be self-serving, but Apple has no excuses and every reason to block them. Their platform enabled mass murder, and continues to promote crime, radicalization, hate, political misinformation, and self harm, often to the most vulnerable.

      F*ckerburg's lies to congress aside, they are not fixing things, and they do not intend to "do better".

  18. Alistair
    Windows

    (Loose) Threads application release

    Well, we all know what happens when you pull on that loose thread at the seam of your sweater.

    a) considering timelines to launch, I give the white hats 48 hours before they dump Zucks entire account from threads. Black hats get 18 hours.

    b) Zuck has the lesson of Twitter in hand, it had x users for y years and made -$$$$ losses all along. They are like hell risking loosing one red cent on this new app.

    c) Meta has what? 97% of its revenue from selling advertising? You expect that leopard to change spots in 6 weeks?

    I avoid social media like the plague for a ton of different reasons although I do have several SM accounts, only two can in any way be associated to me, and *NONE* of the apps get permissions to read in everything on the device. Oddly, VM's come in handy for weird things like that.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: (Loose) Threads application release

      Well, we all know what happens when you pull on that loose thread at the seam of your sweater

      Yes - my wife swats [1] me on the hand and takes away the jumper to be repaired..

      [1] British meaning, not US. She doesn't have the mindless 'must shoot everything' attitude required.. (unless some asks her the same stupid Sharepoint question *again*)

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