Mark Zuckerberg in front of blue background (l) hand holding phone with Threads logo on white screen (r)

Frederic Legrand - COMEO/Shutterstock sdx15/Shutterstock (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Collection page longer than a CVS receipt’: Threads launch is here to remind you Meta still controls all your data

"Data collection page for Threads is longer than a CVS receipt."

 

Katherine Huggins

Tech

Posted on Jul 6, 2023

More than 30 million users have signed up for Meta’s new Twitter-like social media platform Threads, founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday.

The robust launch has seen a number of prominent figures join, including Shakira, Oprah, Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Gates, as well as more than 30 members of Congress.

But not everyone is ready to jump onto the new platform, with many expressing concerns about the app’s data policies.

The new app requires an existing Instagram account, which is currently permanently linked to a user’s Threads account. Users may deactivate their Threads profile, but cannot fully delete it without deleting their Instagram according, according to a Meta supplemental privacy policy.

“The fact that you have to delete your instagram account to delete your threads profile and data is enough to make me not download it lol,” tweeted one person.

https://twitter.com/quelsee/status/1676939914808643586

According to the app privacy disclosure on Apple’s App Store, Threads’ developer, Instagram Inc., “indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data” related to health and fitness, financial info, sensitive info (such as racial or ethnic data, sexual orientation, pregnancy or childbirth information, disability, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, political opinion, genetic information, or biometric data), location data, and more.

“The data collection page for Threads is longer than a CVS receipt,” tweeted one user alongside a video of the disclosure.

There is no guarantee that an app will use all the data listed and Apple noted in the App Store that the information has not been verified by Apple. It also added that “privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age.”

The data listed that “may be collected and linked to your identity” is the same as the apps for Instagram and Facebook, which have long been privacy nightmares.

Unlike Meta, Twitter does not list health & fitness, financial info, and sensitive info as data that may be collected and linked to users.

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey criticized the data policies on Monday, drawing agreement from Twitter owner Elon Musk (who also recently challenged Zuckerberg to a cage match).

Another user called Threads’ data policies “greedy” and “dangerous,” while others labeled the app as a data harvester.

https://twitter.com/ClaireSilver12/status/1676071110465449984

Another user pointed out the disclosures are not different from that of Instagram and Facebook.

“Boy do I have some news about your Facebook and Instagram accounts you’ve had for a decade,” commented one person.

But whether Threads’ handling of data mirrors Meta’s other apps, there was enough concern about if it would be in compliance with European Union regulations that the app has yet to launch there.

In May, Meta was fined $1.3 billion by the Irish Data Protection Commission for breaching policies in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The social media giant faced a separate $414 million fine for different GDPR breaches on WhatsApp and Instagram in January.

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*First Published: Jul 6, 2023, 12:10 pm CDT