Threads: What Is It, and Is It Safe to Use?

August 8, 2023

Introduction

At the start of July 2023, Meta announced a brand new venture. In addition to Facebook and Instagram, the team behind the latter application has built a sort of mass-chat platform called Threads.

What is it, and how does it work?

Simply put, you log in with your existing Instagram account. Then you can start follow people and see their text “threads” on your dashboard; find new, recommended content creators; and begin threads of your own. That includes managing who can reply to or mention you, and filtering out certain words or profiles.

Sound intriguing? Before you jump into any new software or website, though, it’s important to ask yourself: How cyber-safe is this?

Image by Lucent_Designs_dinoson20 from Pixabay

Do All These Threads Make a Secure Web Experience?

If all of this is sounding familiar, that’s likely because e experienced something similar when they came out with Metaverse. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an alluring buzzword these days. The news that Threads intended to lean into augmented and virtual reality is intriguing, but brings up a lot of the same security concerns that experts expressed with Metaverse. It makes sense; they share a parent company, after all!

Initially, people seemed ready to embrace Threads with the same eagerness as they did the virtual reality idea. 100M users signed up for this competitor to X (previously known as Twitter).

Despite the excitement, over half the users on Threads stopped using the app within the first month.

Some critics have noticed that Threads collects a lot of personal data; more so than other social media platforms do, anyway. That includes your…

  • Browsing history
  • Geolocation
  • Search history
  • Employment and union status
  • Health information
  • Race, ethnicity and sexual orientation

Additionally, you can deactivate your Threads profile once you make one…but it doesn’t go away completely—unless you delete your whole Instagram too.

Then there are the ongoing privacy concerns: Since they became child companies of the same corporation, Instagram has long shared user data with Facebook and all their advertisers. Who’s to say Threads won’t encounter the same issue, and fan the flames even more? If they don’t add Threads data to this same, massive database, then where does it go? Who can see that data?

It’s not just about your data being sold to advertisers and sellers. Whenever new platforms come out, catfish flock to make fake profiles to phish or even spear-phish you. All of the social engineering attacks that you’ve learned about are just as much of a risk on Threads as they are anywhere else.

Conclusion

So, are you excited to jump onto the platform? Or do you think Meta has too much control over your online presence as it is?

That’s up to you to decide!

It certainly integrates easily into popular applications that you may already own. However, that doesn’t mean its privacy or security is up to the same standards as those apps that have been out for years, and thus have had more time to test and find zero-day vulnerabilities.

Do your research before jumping onto new trends. Take serious precautions when you sign up for new accounts; know who can access that data and how much of your activity they are able to track. The more you know about a website and what security risks could lie there, the better decisions you can make about your data’s privacy!

Image by Marie from Pixabay

References

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