PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said tens of millions of people downloaded the new Threads app within hours of its July 5 launch.

But a cybersecurity expert is warning users who are rushing to download the Threads app, citing potential privacy concerns.

The app is a spinoff of Instagram, but instead of photos and videos, the app is more text-based and is being considered a rival to Twitter.

“It’s kind of based on Twitter of course, as everyone is switching over,” Jules Hillman, 19, said.

Is Meta’s Threads app safe? Expert points out privacy concerns

But as millions of people flock to the Threads app, cyber crime expert Rob D’Ovidio warns users to be on the lookout for privacy issues. The app was put on hold in other countries – it’s not available in the European Union, which has strict data privacy laws.

“What that tells me is that there are some privacy concerns that we should look into,” D’Ovidio, an associate professor of criminology and justice studies at Drexel University, said. “The European Union countries are much more heavily regulated in favor of the consumer and protecting privacy.”

In the app’s privacy description on the Apple App Store, Threads lists out what personal data may be collected on users including: health and fitness, financial information, contacts, browsing history, and location.


Regardless, some social media users we spoke to in center city on friday have mixed reactions about the warning. 

“I’ve always been the type of person that is like, ‘my information is already out there,’ as bad as that sounds,” Hillman said.  

“People are going to post what they’re going to post,” grandmother Michelle Dean said. “So, it’s just another form of social media that I probably won’t indulge in.”

RELATED: Twitter threatens legal action over Meta’s “copycat” Threads, report says

Hillman went on to say she hopes Threads can be more of a productive platform then its competitors.

“I feel like Twitter is definitely a ruthless place, so I’m hoping that maybe it does promote more positivity,” Hillman said. 

After talking to people about the app, we decided to try it out for ourselves.

The setup process was simple: a quick download, then the app automatically links to your existing Instagram followed by a prompt asking if you’d like a public or private account.

“Install it on your device,” D’Ovidio said. “Use it yourself. Go through the set-up process. Go familiarize yourself with the privacy and security settings.”

We reached out to Meta for comment on their privacy protocols when it comes to minors but have not heard back.


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