Good news with EU social media fans, with Threads looking set for a Dec. 14 launch in the region, just in time to capitalize on holiday engagement.
As reported by The Verge, EU Instagram users can now access a countdown timer at www.threads.net, which seemingly indicates the exact time for the upcoming EU launch. Meta hasn’t made any official announcement, but the countdown clock is only visible to European users, while EU users can also search ‘ticket’ in the Instagram app to find a digital invitation to Threads.
Which replicates the original Threads launch back in July, which included similar Easter eggs and indicators pointing to the launch date (like the above).
The EU launch of Threads has been delayed by evolving EU data privacy regulations, which, due to the timing of the implementation of these new rules, has put additional development burden on the Threads team to ensure compliance with the new parameters. Amid the initial Threads launch, Instagram (and Threads) chief Adam Mosseri said that it could take “many months” for Threads to reach EU users due to these additional complications.
But we have since seen indicators that Threads is coming.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Meta had an established plan to launch Threads to EU users in December, while app researchers have found various references to an upcoming “Threads EU Launch” in the app’s code.
Given the various strands of evidence, it does indeed seem likely that European users will get access to the app next week. And again, with social media usage increasing during the holiday break, that would also provide the best opportunity for Meta to capitalize on its opportunities.
Which are seemingly on the rise. As more people turn away from Elon Musk’s X project, largely due to Musk’s own divisive commentary, they’re seeking a real-time social alternative, and for many Threads is already filling that void.
That’s especially true for journalists, a common target of Musk’s attacks, who are now establishing new networks within the Threads ecosphere. And while live sports engagement remains high on X, Threads is also making a push to win over more sports communities, even placing ads courtside during the new NBA in-season tournament showcase in Las Vegas.
That’s seemingly prompting more sports fans to post in the app, which will expand again with the arrival of potentially millions more users in the EU region.
So how many more users can Threads expect to gain as a result of its European expansion?
Based on Meta’s EU disclosure data on active users, Instagram currently serves some 259 million monthly active users in Europe.
Instagram’s total, official user count is 1 billion MAU, while Threads now has over 100 million monthly users. So presumably, around a tenth of active IG users are also signing up to the app, which would mean that, at a rough estimate, we’re set to see around 25.9 million new Threads users incoming, if/when Threads is launched in the EU region.
Which is probably not as many as you might expect, but this is based on rough estimates, as Instagram reportedly has more than a billion actives now, and we don’t know the exact, current user counts of either app.
But either way, it will expand the conversation in the app, and enable more people to take part, which has its own expanded benefits. And with around 60 million X users also in the region, that could see a number of them looking to make the switch.
Which is the real aim here. Meta has created Threads as the X alternative, aiming to scoop up former Twitter cast-offs who are unhappy with Elon’s changes at the app. In order to do that, Threads needs to be available in all regions where X users may be looking to jump ship, so its EU expansion is another critical step in this respect.
It’ll be interesting to see what Threads user numbers rise to over the holiday period, and whether it can indeed become a genuine rival for X in total active engagement.
We’ll keep you updated on any official announcement on the Threads EU launch.