What are the legal issues facing Threads?

Threads App, a companion app to Instagram, faced two main legal issues:

  • Privacy concerns: The app was criticized for its extensive data collection practices, which included collecting users’ health and financial data, precise location, browsing history, contacts, and search history. These concerns led to the app being blocked from launching in the European Union, where stricter privacy laws are in place.
  • Trade secret allegations: Twitter filed a lawsuit against Meta, alleging that Threads was a “copycat” that used trade secrets from former Twitter employees hired by Meta. The lawsuit was later settled, with Meta agreeing to pay Twitter an undisclosed sum.

Threads App was shut down in 2021, reportedly due to declining user numbers. However, the legal issues surrounding the app may have contributed to its demise.

Here are some additional details about the two legal issues:

  • Privacy concerns: Threads App’s privacy policy stated that the app would collect “various types of information” about users, including their “name, email address, phone number, birthday, gender, location, and interests.” The policy also stated that the app would collect “information about how you use the app, such as the types of posts you view, the people you interact with, and the content you share.”

These data collection practices raised concerns about user privacy, particularly in the European Union, where stricter privacy laws are in place. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires companies to obtain explicit consent from users before collecting their personal data. Threads App’s privacy policy did not explicitly state that users were giving their consent to the collection of all of the data that the app was collecting.

  • Trade secret allegations: Twitter’s lawsuit against Meta alleged that Threads App was a “copycat” of Twitter’s Fleets feature. Fleets was a short-form messaging feature that was launched by Twitter in 2020. The lawsuit alleged that Meta had hired former Twitter employees who had knowledge of Fleets and used that knowledge to develop Threads App.

The lawsuit was later settled, with Meta agreeing to pay Twitter an undisclosed sum. The terms of the settlement were not made public, so it is unclear whether Meta admitted to any wrongdoing.

Overall, Threads App faced two main legal issues: privacy concerns and trade secret allegations. These issues may have contributed to the app’s demise.

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