Don’t try to sign up for Threads through a virtual private network (VPN) if you live in Europe. Meta has confirmed that it’s blocking European Union users from accessing the new social network through a VPN. As consultant Matt Navarra explains, content, notifications and profiles won’t load properly. Some users say they can use Threads without a VPN if they’d previously signed up with one, but you may not want to count on that loophole working.
In a statement, Meta says it’s taking “further measures” to stop people from accessing Threads in European countries where the app is unavailable. The company nonetheless says Europe remains a “very important market” and that it hopes to expand availability in the future. The firm doesn’t provide a timeline for more rollouts, but the app is currently rough and missing important features like hashtags.
Threads is available for users in over 100 countries, including the US and UK, but not in the EU. The Union considers Meta a technology “gatekeeper” in the region, and the company reportedly wants to be sure Threads’ data sharing approach complies with the upcoming Digital Markets Act. Threads is built on Instagram’s infrastructure and may import data from that platform. The EU also ruled that Meta has to get permission to show personalized ads, potentially adding more complications.
There’s pressure for Meta to expand. Threads racked up 100 million users in less than a week, and is already considered Twitter’s greatest threat. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg notes that growth so far has largely been “organic,” without advertising or other familiar promotional tactics. While it’s unclear if usage will hold up in the long term, an expansion to the EU could sustain that momentum. Outside analysts believe Twitter traffic is already dropping as a result of users trying or switching to Threads.