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Threads app on a smartphone

Photo: Yui Mok / dpa

The latest app from the Facebook group Meta is apparently to be available in the EU in the coming days. Since Friday, users from the European Union have been able to see a countdown on the Threads website, which is scheduled to expire on December 14 at 12 noon. The service is an alternative to Elon Musk's online platform X (formerly Twitter).

Meta had omitted the European Union when launching threads in July. The company justified this with legal ambiguities with regard to "new digital laws". According to observers, this probably meant the double package Digital Services Act (DSA) and Digital Markets Act (DMA). In addition, the automatic linking of Instagram's user data and threads is likely to have caused problems for Meta.

There was no official announcement of a launch – and so it remained unclear, among other things, whether Threads might have different functions in the EU than in other countries. A few days ago, the »Wall Street Journal« reported on the imminent launch and wrote that, in view of the EU rules, there should also be the option to use threads only to read posts, without being able to write your own posts.

Since Musk bought the short message service Twitter and renamed it X, the number of users of the online platform has been declining, according to market researchers. Several competitors see the opportunity to build on Twitter's former importance with alternatives. Threads is considered a particularly strong candidate because the service is based on Meta's photo and video platform Instagram, which has hundreds of millions of users already connected to each other.

Threads has nearly 100 million users who are active at least once a month, Facebook founder and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in October. After its launch in July, Threads had cracked the 100 million sign-up mark within a few days – but after that, user activity declined again. Zuckerberg remained convinced that Threads could become a service with a billion users in a few years. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri already held out the prospect in October that Threads could finally become available in the EU in a few months.