New research conducted by Home Security Heroes, a cybersecurity firm, has unveiled concerning findings about the user privacy practices of social media platforms. Threads, the microblogging platform owned by Meta, has been identified as the worst platform for safeguarding user privacy.
The analysis also pointed out that Instagram, the Meta app associated with the new Twitter/X competitor, falls among the least private social media platforms. The report indicates that Threads collects significantly more personal user data than similar platforms, raising questions about the extent of data collection and privacy protection within social media networks.
Notably, the study’s results echo long-standing concerns voiced by figures such as Elon Musk, who have criticized Threads for its extensive data collection practices. The app is reported to gather a wide range of user data, encompassing health information, financial details, contact information, browsing history, location data, and more.
Moreover, Threads’ reliance on Instagram user data, including sensitive information like location and search history, has added to the apprehensions about data privacy. Consequently, Meta has decided to delay the launch of Threads in the EU as it navigates the challenge of aligning with strict regulatory requirements.
The study underscores the diverse levels of privacy protection across social media platforms. Home Security Heroes assessed factors such as data collection, user control, security measures, and user experience patterns to differentiate between platforms. Alarmingly, Meta’s ecosystem, comprising Threads, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger, was found to be the most data-intensive, tracking a substantial 86% of personal information for advertising and marketing purposes.
In contrast, the analysis identifies Flickr as a standout for personal privacy protection, along with Hive Social and Baidu. Additionally, Threads’ engagement has encountered a steep decline of 79% following its initial surge of 2.3 million users, suggesting that retaining user interest remains a challenge for the platform despite its rapid sign-up rate.