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Data Security: Key factors to consider when signing up for Meta’s ‘Threads’ app –Experts

*As Meta’s Threads app has recorded over 100 million users worldwide days after recent activation, cybersafety experts have explained specific issues consumers need to be aware of, in regard to their personal data and tracking via the new social media platform

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Experts have explained some important  factors to consider when consumers are thinking of subscribing to “Threads”, Meta’s new-fangled social media platform.

As the race is on, just within days time, the company’s new “Threads” app has done to Twitter what no other social media company has done – signed up 100 million text-post loving users, close to a fourth of Twitter’s audience base, according to report.

ConsumerConnect learnt in spite of the spectacle of the punk-out between Meta’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Chief Executive Elon Musk and the temptation to join the crowd, experts are saying that there are too many people jumping into Threads without thinking about what they’re giving Meta in the way of personal data and tracking.

On data privacy and security

According to experts, Threads’ key differentiator is its integration with Instagram, which provides a ready user base and a seamless transition.

However, Ani Chaudhuri, CEO at Dasera, said that could also be its Achilles heel when we look at it from a data privacy and security perspective.

Chaudhuri told ConsumerAffairs that “merging data across platforms creates a rich, integrated dataset that may be more attractive to potential threat actors.

“If not managed correctly, this could result in unintended data sharing and privacy breaches.”

The CEO of Dasera also reminded consumers that Meta yet is the same company that “brought us that infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal.”

According to the expert, there are specific issues people need to be aware of.

If you haven’t leaped into Threads yet, or you just signed up, there are things you should consider before you go too far, stated he.

Speaking on the issue of consumers’ data privacy,  Sharad Varshney, CEO of OvalEdge, a data governance consultancy, also stated that you can’t delete Threads without deleting Instagram.

Varshney said: “Most people are eager to jump on board new social media platforms, especially if they believe all of their peers are doing it, too.

“There are some immediate pitfalls people need to be aware of, one of which is that if you sign up for Threads by linking your Instagram account, you cannot delete Threads later without having to delete your Instagram.”

He explained: “The two are ultimately married, sealing your data within its system indefinitely unless Meta changes this policy. “You can only deactivate a Threads profile if you want to hang onto your Instagram, so you’ll be stuck with a dormant Threads account.”

The expert also noted: “So, consider manually setting up an independent Threads profile with an e-mail if you want to give yourself that ‘Threads deletion escape hatch.’ ”

More advertising junk to deal with

Experts as well restated that Threads is owned by Meta, and “you know what that means.

Art Shaikh, Founder & CEO,, said: “This comes with the usual caveats that your data will be sold in Meta’s advertising platform.

“Granted, the fact that it is built on the Instagram platform means that much of the data users have shared with IG is already in Meta’s database, but new interaction and engagement data will also be added.

“As the saying goes, if the product is free, then your data is the cost. Users should take the usual precautions.”

Are you giving away your entire life?

Chris Hauk, Consumer Privacy Champion at Pixel Privacy, declared that one could not trust Meta when it comes to user information and how it is used.

Hauk said: “Meta exists for one reason: to collect as much information as it can about its users and then sell that information to anyone able to pay the asking price.”

How much information? According to Threads disclosure on the Google Play store, 14 pieces, including:

  • Approximate and precise location
  • Name, e-mail address, user IDs, home address, phone number, political and religious beliefs, sexual orientation
  • Financial info including user payment info, purchase history, credit score, and other financial info
  • Health info and fitness information
  • E-mails, text messages
  • Photos and videos, voice or sound recordings, music files, and other audio files
  • Files and docs
  • Calendar events
  • Contacts
  • Additional concerns

Caution to potential Threads users

“Potential users should take time to review this list, and ensure they are comfortable with sharing their information before signing up for an account, which as a pre-requisite will be tied to their Instagram account,” advised David Abramowitz, Chief Technologist at Trend Micro.

Parents beware!

It was also gathered that in terms of data privacy, Meta Chief Mark Zuckerberg, who posted a Fourth of July picture of his family on Instagram, even blurred the faces of his children.

So, if he’s worried about the privacy of his children, then, shouldn’t other parents be? Experts asked.

Erfan Shadabi, cybersecurity expert with data security specialists comforte AG, also said that before a child or young adult joins Threads, parents should familiarise themselves with the app’s privacy policy and not only consider that laundry list of personal information Threads collects, but how it is stored and how it is used.

Shadabi stated: “Assess whether the app aligns with your family’s privacy expectations and values.

“And take note of any potential risks associated with the app’s content, including user-generated content, public posts, or interactions with strangers.”

The cybersecurity expert advised “no matter which app is in question, parents should also actively explore the app’s settings and privacy controls.

“Teach them how to set their profile to private, limit who can view their posts or content, and how to manage friend or follower requests.”

He also suggested that parents educate their children about the importance of strong passwords, avoiding suspicious links or downloads, and being cautious about sharing personal information or engaging with strangers online.

“Teach them to identify potential risks and to report any suspicious or malicious activities on the platform.

“Above all, maintain an open line of communication and offer ongoing guidance and support,” Shadabi added.

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