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Hello all, and happy Thursday!  

With Twitter’s (or should I say X’s?) slow implosion, it’s worth looking at the privacy practices of their newest competitor—Meta’s Threads. 

To nobody’s surprise, Threads follows the same patterns as many of Meta’s other products in terms of excessive data collection. To join Threads, you need to agree to hand over your health and financial information, location, search history, and other info that has little to do with the actual service Threads provides.  

Our EU readers are probably raising an eyebrow over this, but so are EU regulators—Threads is not available in the EU at the moment. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri says that Threads will not be available in the EU for “many months” due to the complexity of bringing the app into compliance with EU regulations.  

Ultimately, it seems unlikely that any Meta products will do anything aside from collecting as much personal information as is permissible under the law. One need only look at Facebook’s perpetual struggles with GDPR regulators for proof. So long as Meta’s core business relies on the sale of advertisements, collecting user data will simply be too valuable, even with the sometimes staggering fines issued by EU authorities. 

For fans of microblogging but not of Meta’s data collection practices or the chaotic changes going on at X/Twitter, Fediverse alternatives like Mastodon might seem attractive.  

(A discussion of the Fediverse is sadly outside the scope of this newsletter, but if you’re curious about the subject, this article does a good job summarizing). 

Unfortunately, the nature of the Fediverse means that privacy policies and terms of service are up to individual instance administrators. If your Mastodon instance does a good job by data privacy, it might still federate with other instances that are sending your posts and personal data to unknown third parties. And guess what? Meta is also on the Fediverse.  

Will there ever be a privacy-focused social media network? Or are privacy and social media simply incompatible? At present, it looks like the latter is the case. 



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