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Threads App's European Expansion: Threads or Threats? When Regulations Throw a Stick in the Wheel

Updated: Aug 1, 2023


Meta recently launched their answer to Twitter with their Threads platform, a popular messaging platform that was welcomed with open arms in the US and other parts of the world, alongside ambitious plans to conquer Europe. The anticipation is building, users are excited, and Meta is all set to take communication to new heights. But they didn’t account for the strict EU regulations on Big Tech. Enter the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Europe's regulatory superhero, here to save the day - or is it? Let's unravel the complexities of DMA and its impact on Threads' European dreams.

A picture of a hand holding a mobile phone depicting the Threads logo on it's screen

Threads App's European Expansion Plans Meet Regulatory Maze

The Threads app, already a sensation across the globe, has its eye set on Europe. With its innovative features and seamless user experience, the app aims to revolutionise communication on the continent. But alas, Europe has a different plan in mind: the Digital Markets Act.

Enter the Digital Markets Act

The Digital Markets Act, lovingly known as DMA, is a regulatory framework aimed at taming the giants of the digital world. It is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill regulation. It's a heavyweight contender, ready to challenge the status quo and shake things up in the digital realm. As Threads app eagerly knocks on Europe's door, DMA throws a curveball that sends shockwaves through Meta's integration plans. So, what exactly are the hurdles faced by Meta and the Threads app in Europe? The DMA aims to prevent unfair practices, addresses user privacy and restricts the use of user data, focuses on competition and ensures a level playing field for all. While these objectives are commendable, they create roadblocks to integration and expansion plans, leaving Meta scratching their heads.

Consequences and Reflections

As DMA tightens its grip, Meta's integration plans come to a screeching halt. DMA's platform-level regulations are intriguing, but what does this mean for Threads app users and the broader digital landscape? Although the clash between innovation and regulation raises important questions about power distribution within the tech industry, we can ask ourselves even more fundamental questions about how to approach all of this.

Regulatory frameworks act as an extra layer on top of existing technological layers and so increase complexity. Rather than increasing complexity, we could question the current infrastructure: the technological frameworks we use, the protocols and their architecture. We can ask ourselves whether or not we can establish the right to build through technological means, rather than legal means. In contrast to current legal law enforced by governments, the latter give rights, instead of limiting them. Regulating technology eventually creates new mono- or any other kind of policies, which in turn do everything they can to maintain their position. Imagine technological frameworks with protocols, only subject to their own technological laws, acting on a fundamental level. There is no need to regulate these frameworks or protocols as they are voted on by all of us through our usage. Why hand this task to a chain of organisations, each with their own incentives, eventually as well upholding their positions, when we can rely directly on the users to perform it? If a framework or protocol does not represent your way of thinking - create or use another one. Trust the code!


The Threads app's European expansion story is a cautionary tale of ambition meeting regulatory realities. DMA, the regulatory superhero, may have thrown a spanner in the works, but it opens up dialogue on a fundamental level. Rather than adding extra layers and complexity, we could question the current infrastructure and technological frameworks we use. Today, regulations can be a double-edged sword, guarding user interests while also potentially stifling innovation or even worse, triggering abuse. Maybe we should not make things harder than they are. Keep It Simple, Stupid. It is essential to keep an eye on these developments and reflect on the broader implications for technology innovation. So, grab a cup of coffee and put on your thinking caps. The Threads app's journey through the DMA maze is just beginning, and there's much to unravel, analyse, and discuss.

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