Meta appears to have bowed to pressure from the Information Commissioner’s Office over its Threads platform, once hailed as a “Twitter-killer”, after finally allowing users to delete the app while keeping the linked Instagram account.
Threads launched in the UK and US in July, with reports claiming 10 million users had signed up worldwide within the first few hours a figure which climbed to 200 million within weeks.
However, last month Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg admitted that three months on from its launch, the app was attracting fewer than half of that amount, at around 100 million monthly users.
Even so, users have only been able to deactivate – not delete – their Threads account if they wanted to keep their linked Instagram profile, sparking criticism from many users as well as the ICO.
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has revealed the change of heart in a post on Threads, with the new feature to be accessible from the settings menu in a “Delete or Deactivate Profile” section.
Meta first announced the change would be coming back in September, the ICO wrote: “We have been clear with Meta since the Threads service was launched that people should be able to delete their Threads profiles and account information, without that having an impact on their Instagram account.”
It said it was glad “discussions” had resulted in change, adding “people should not have to sacrifice their usage of one service in order to be removed from another”.
Threads has also said users will soon be able to opt out of automatic sharing of posts to either or both Instagram and Facebook. While this feature allowed Meta to raise awareness of Threads among its billions of other users, apparently it was unpopular with many users. Mosseri insisted the platform had “heard feedback that you want more control over the experience”.
Whether Meta would have been quite so quick to respond to the ICO’s requests had the Threads platform been a runaway success, however, is a moot point.
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