Threads Privacy Policy Is Already Drawing Criticism

The company formerly known as Facebook has not been great when it comes to protecting its users' privacy.

A new social media app approaches! A Twitter-clone from Meta — dubbed Threads — has officially launched, and it's already drawing condemnation from critics for its privacy policy.

Meta doesn't have the best track record when it comes to protecting user data. Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram have all experienced their fair share of breaches and leaks, with scandals marring the company's overall reputation for privacy.

Now, the new app is receiving criticism for its privacy policy, but is it actually problematic?

What Data Does Threads Track?

As is often the case with social media apps, the Threads privacy policy sounds a bit intrusive. Here's a quick list of all the data that the app tracks when you use or interact with it, according to the Threads Supplemental Privacy Policy:

  • Profile information
  • User activity
  • Followers and other connections
  • Third party service and user data
  • App, browser, and device information

However, if you do a quick glance at the Data Safety section in the Google Play Store or the App Privacy section in the Apple App Store, you'll see that the data available to Threads is quite extensive. Some tracked data that falls into the above categories include sexual orientation, credit score, and health and fitness info.

Threads Privacy Policy Concerns

All that data may sound like a lot to track for a simple Twitter clone. However, the reality is that, compared to other Meta apps like Facebook and Instagram, it's par for the course, with all three tracking the data listed above.

On the other hand, according to the Google Play Store, Twitter collects far less data and, even better, shares none of it with third-party services. This is likely one of many reasons why Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey — the current and former heads of Twitter — felt comfortable speaking out about the privacy policy.

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A mere 20 minutes after the above tweet, Elon Musk chimed in with his signature brevity online with nothing more than a simple “Yeah” to show his support for the sentiment.

Meta's History on Privacy

Whether or not Threads is a significant privacy concern or just another Meta app that collects too much data remains to be seen for now. What we do know is that the company formerly known as Facebook has not been great when it comes to protecting its users' privacy.

For starters, Meta was fined $1.3 billion earlier this year for violating the EU's data privacy rules. In fact, the company's history of bad data privacy is holding up the launch of Threads in the EU, which makes the 30 million users on day one even more impressive.

On top of that, you've got the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw an unprecedented level of access to user data that was used for everything from influencing elections to scamming people out of money.

All that to say, Meta may not be worthy of our user data given its history, but apparently people are willing to do anything to get off of Twitter.

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Written by:

Conor is the Lead Writer for Tech.co. For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.

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