Meta’s Threads not available in the EU due to legal complexity

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testifies at a U.S. Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8, 2021.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

While Meta’s debut of its Twitter competitor, Threads, is making a splash in the U.S., consumers in the European Union are not yet able to join the platform.

That’s because the more than 100 countries in which Threads initially launched does not include EU member states, due to “complexities with complying with some of the laws coming into effect next year,” Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri told The Verge.

Mosseri’s comment appears to reference the Digital Markets Act, or DMA. He made the comment in a response to a question from The Verge about why Threads was not yet available in the EU and whether uncertainty around the DMA was to blame, though Mosseri did not specifically call out the DMA in his response.

“We don’t want to launch anything that isn’t forward-compatible with what we know and what we think is coming,” Mosseri told The Verge. “It’s just going to take longer to make sure not only that it’s compliant but that any claims we make about how we’ve implemented compliance stand up to our very high set of documentation and testing centers internally.”

The DMA establishes a set of competition rules for the largest digital gatekeepers, including many U.S. tech giants such as Meta. Under the rules, digital gatekeepers must not preference their own services on their platforms and must ensure their instant messaging services are functional with those of competitors.

Meta’s decision to hold off on launching the platform in the EU is a direct example of how the complexities of new regulation can affect product launches. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Many tech companies have pushed back on the DMA, saying it unfairly targets U.S. firms and could stymie innovation. Apple has worried the legislation could result in “unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities” and “prohibit us from charging for intellectual property.”

But policymakers in Europe believe new rules of the road are necessary to allow smaller and newer players to flourish in the digital marketplace.

WATCH: Higgins: Can Threads siphon away the community aspect Twitter has built around cultural events?

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