The most rapidly downloaded application in history is facing scrutiny.
While the newest text-based social media app, Threads, has become a Twitter competitor, concerns about its rampant privacy issues have continued to increase among users worldwide.
The application, owned by notorious privacy breacher Meta, collects a wealth of personal information that many have described as both unique and sensitive.
With the history of data selling from Facebook, users and regulators are wary of the company’s latest venture. Meta has faced cases of improper data collection and use of data in the US, as well as fines for collecting data without consent as stipulated in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
“Several of the privacy concerns with Threads tie back to Meta’s history of concerning privacy practices,” said Calli Schroeder, senior counsel and global privacy counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic), a digital privacy nonprofit. “I haven’t seen any evidence that Meta is being transparent about what it will do with sensitive personal data or is clearly establishing why it is collecting that data other than ‘because we want to.’”
A look at the app-store disclosure on the types of data collected highlights that Meta could get anything from health and fitness information, financial information, location and browsing history, to ominously vague “other data”
The application is currently under review in European Union jurisdictions following a need to investigate how the company would handle collected data.
Meta’s massive collection of data is geared towards one goal – selling ads.
Threads currently doesn’t run ads yet, but experts firmly believe it will do so in the near future. In the meantime, information collected on Threads may be used as part of the larger ecosystem of data Meta uses to serve ads on its other platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.
“Meta has not only not changed its business model, it continues to want to do targeted ads, essentially surveillance advertising,” said Carissa Veliz, an associate professor at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford.