Meta (Facebook) has officially launched Thread, its Twitter competitor. And it's a straightforward Twitter clone, which is probably the best thing to do if you want to siphon out angry Twitter users in the shortest period efficiently. The interface seems quite decent and unobtrusive, while simply using your Instagram account will log you into Thread with all your Instagram contacts following up seamlessly—a perfect play to reach critical mass ASAP.

One caveat, though? Thread will not be available in Europe.

In an interview with The Verge, the Head of Instagram who's managing Thread launch explained why:

Threads is initially available in 100 countries, including the US, but not in the European Union. It’s being excluded from the EU initially due to “the complexities with complying with some of the laws coming into effect next year,” according to Mosseri. That’s likely a reference to the Digital Markets Act, which imposes a bunch of new legal obligations on so-called “gatekeeper” platforms like Meta.

And because you know me, just a few days ago, I was pointing at this quite purposeful stance that the EU is now having about American tech giants (and others, to be fair):

Another regulatory front opened by the EU with the DMA is about competitiveness in digital markets and curbing the monopoly power of current gatekeepers. Companies like Google and Apple could face fines for non-compliance, including requirements to allow users to uninstall pre-installed apps and cease self-preferencing in app stores. The DMA covers various platform "services," such as app stores, search engines, social media, and advertising services. It mandates provisions for data portability, interoperability, and access to data for businesses and users. Anticipated eagerly, the technical implementation of requirements remains as said gatekeepers intensify their lobbying efforts.
This act is probably the most technical and wide-ranging tool for regulations the EU would be equipped with. And here again, it would directly do the simple regulatory job that the US never wanted to assume for all these years. It also comes with updated levels of deterrence as US giants would face up to 10% of their annual global turnover in fines.

The fact that Facebook is now deterred from launching a new service in Europe if it can't ensure basic decency and ensure interoperability (among other things) is A.MA.ZIN.G. They will, of course, root for frustrated European users expecting that some level of public outcry will win over the EU regulations.

Me? I wouldn't bet on it for a minute.

If Threads can't comply, it will stay out. And please don't cry over "stifling innovation." Keep in mind that Meta is "reinventing" a platform launched 17 years ago without a single fresh idea about it. Again, I'd be more concerned about preserving democracy and paying local taxes where they are due. But if you think it's innovation and care about it, watch the new startups in this social media space (Mastodon, Bluesky) now scrambling for money in the faint hope they'll be able to outspeed Meta on this one. And they won't. This is precisely what Europe regulations would like to prevent from now on.

Our Plan for a Sustainably Open Social Network
We’ve been exploring avenues of monetization other than traditional advertising, and have raised a seed round to support our mission and growth.

Bluesky just raised $8M... Which is probably a week worth of burn rate at Meta's Thread.

And by the way, Thierry Breton dotting the i's and crossing the t's on Twitter of all the other media possible is epic-level trolling. Respect. 🫡

(I'm not linking to Twitter anymore, as embeds are getting flaky as hell; this is just a screenshot 🤗)

[ EDIT - July 9, 2023 ] Threads seems to be already reaching 100 million users without the Eurozone, leaving way behind every other potential Twitter competitor. This is really the 'case and point' moment for Thierry Breton regarding Meta's abusing its gatekeeper position with its 3 billion people network. For reference, Twitter is still supposed to have 400 million users and was launched in March 2006.

And the CEO of Cloudflare confirms that Twitter has already taken a hit traffic-wise which, admittedly, is part about Threads launch, part an ongoing self-inflicted wound by Musk management.

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