Why you might not want to sign up for Threads
Mark Zuckerberg claims that some 30 million people have signed up for Meta's Threads app since its launch on Thursday.
You might be tempted to think, “He would say that,” but in the rush to join the new Twitter alternative are people overlooking the security and privacy implications of the app? Quite a few experts think so.
Chris Hauk, consumer privacy advocate at Pixel Privacy says:
If an app is from Meta, it's collecting your personal information. In the iOS App Store, the app's 'App Privacy' information shows that it collects 13 specific types of data, including health, financial, location, and contact information. It even digs into your search history. The list also includes 'Other Data' which means it also collects other miscellaneous info. Meta is in business to do one thing, and that's to collect your information and sell it to anyone willing to pay for it.
I strongly urge Instagram users to not install the app, although if they really cared about privacy they wouldn't be using Instagram, Facebook, or this app. Plus, there is no way out of this app without deleting your Instagram account. And if you do that, how will you post all of your cat photos?
Aaron Mendes, CEO and co-founder of PrivacyHawk echoes this view and urges users to check the privacy settings if they do choose to install the app, "Threads App is just disclosing all the same data they might collect in their primary apps, Instagram and Facebook. It doesn't mean they collect it on every person. It depends on how you use the app and what you give them access to. But it is a reminder of the depth of data Meta collects on its users and that you are the product when you use any of their services. If you will use them and care about your privacy, take the time to go into their privacy settings and select more private settings than the default. And don’t give them access to everything they ask for. And take back things they don't need anymore. You can still use most of their services without giving them everything they want."
The app's popularity is set to make it an attractive target for scammers too, as Darren James, senior product manager at Specops Software, warns:
Threads is an application created by Meta, the same people that brought you Instagram and Facebook. Already earmarked as a 'Twitter Killer' it is well positioned to threaten Twitter's dominant position in the social media arena. Twitter has been embroiled in a number of much publicized controversies since its takeover by Elon Musk, and so Threads has proven extremely popular since it’s release in the last 48 hours, gathering 10+ million signups.
This popularity and lack of history also makes it a popular subject for scam artists. It shares its login details with your Instagram account, so beware of SMS and Email scams that may ask you to change/reset your Instagram or Threads password. In fact, now would be good opportunity to enable Two Factor Authentication and possibly replace your Insta password with a passphrase, but do this via the app itself rather than any email/SMS you may receive from a scammer.