Tech giant Meta's new social media platform Threads has logged 113 million users in just over a week, despite growing security concerns.
However, it's launch in the European Union has been put on hold due to concerns over how Threads uses personal data for targeted advertising, potentially conflicting with the union's Digital Markets Act (DMA).
But Threads was released unhindered in Australia and more than 100 other countries worldwide and has left some activists worried for the future of online privacy.
Digital Rights Watch program lead Samantha Floreani said Australia's Privacy Act was "woefully ill-equipped" for the modern digital economy.
"We urgently need the Australian government to take action to pass robust reforms to the Privacy Act to make sure companies are handling our personal information appropriately," she said.
"All of this data is collected for the benefit of the companies harvesting it.
"Doing so enables them to keep you on the platform for as long as possible through engagement and recommendation algorithms. And the more data these companies have on people, the worse the consequences when there is a security breach."
Instagram, the app's developer, claims this data is used for third-party advertising, analytics, product personalisation, app functionality and "other purposes".
Ms Floreani said Threads was collecting information in a similar way to other apps.
"When you sign up to Threads they already have a huge amount of data about you from Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp," she said.
"Meta has a disastrous record when it comes to user privacy and the ethical collection, use and sharing of data. There is no indication that Threads will be any different."
The app's policies have come under fire in recent weeks, with former Twitter boss Jack Dorsey tweeting "all your Threads belong to us" on July 4.
Meta's global influence has put it in hot water many times before, most infamously when CEO Mark Zuckerberg was forced to give a testimonial to the US Congress in 2018.
Ms Floreani said despite public backlash, scandals, fines and warnings from regulators, nothing had fundamentally changed in how Meta did business.
"Threads is the latest shiny product to continue this legacy and any rhetoric about it being 'friendly' is surface level only. Underneath it is the same old hostile business model," she said.
With Twitter on a sharp downturn under Elon Musk's leadership, the release of Threads has come at an opportune time for Meta.
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If the app is to continue its growth, the company could eventually own three of the largest social media platforms alongside Facebook and Instagram.
"It is extremely concerning that one company controls such a huge market share of the current social media landscape. This dominance enables them to continue bad practices and crush competition," Ms Floreani said.
"It creates an environment in which people are trapped into using Meta products, even if they may not want to, because there aren't many genuine alternatives."
Meta was contacted for comment but did not respond.
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