Threads reportedly plans major expansion as Elon Musk's X struggles

Threads in portrait mode on Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Threads will come to the European Union starting in December, according to the Wall Street Journal. 
  • Meta had to comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act before it could expand its microblogging service to the market.
  • Threads currently has nearly 100 million monthly active users and will reportedly add another 40 million with its EU expansion. 
  • Rival app X is currently losing advertisers in response to owner Elon Musk's alleged antisemitism. 

Threads, the microblogging expansion to Instagram, launched "worldwide" in July 2023, with the exception of Europe. Regulatory protections stopped Meta from an immediate launch there. Now, the way has apparently been cleared for Threads to officially launch in the European Union in December. 

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported the news, citing "people familiar with the matter." The WSJ noted that for the EU to allow Threads to work there, Meta had to "give EU users the choice of using Threads purely for consumption without a profile," whereas many social media apps require a logged-in account to see content.

Meta also recently enabled users to delete their Threads account without deleting their Instagram account, another alleged hangup to an EU launch. And it allows you to edit posts without paying for the privilege (unlike X). 

The WSJ cited Debra Aho Williamson, an "independent tech analyst," as saying this would help Threads add an additional 40 million monthly users, based on the proportion of Instagram users worldwide that have signed up for Threads. 

During the Meta Q3 earnings report, Mark Zuckerberg reported that just under 100 million users still use Threads monthly, despite the earlier report that Threads lost half its users within a month of launch. 

A 40% increase would certainly be significant. But this figure assumes EU Instagram users will sign up at the same rate for an "older" app as U.S. users did in July, which isn't a guarantee.

What could help Threads' expansion is the current struggles of its most popular rival, X (formerly Twitter). Owner Elon Musk has come under fire for describing an antisemitic post on the platform as "the actual truth." Then, this week, he told advertisers who left X in response to his tweet to "go f*ck yourself."

If Meta plays its cards right, it can appeal to any European users who choose to leave X behind in response to Musk's actions. We've already seen the rise of various blogging platforms in recent months, like Bluesky and Mastodon, although Threads — bolstered by its Instagram ties — has the biggest chance of success. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, VR/AR and fitness

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on fitness tech and wearables, with an enthusiast's love of VR tech on the side. After years freelancing for Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, Digital Trends, and other sites on a variety of tech topics, AC has given him the chance to really dive into the topics he's passionate about. He's also a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves D&D, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

For wearables, Michael has tested dozens of smartwatches from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, and other brands, and will always focus on recommending the best product over the best brand. He's also completed marathons like NYC, SF, Marine Corps, Big Sur, and California International — though he's still trying to break that 4-hour barrier.