Deleting Threads Is the Least of Your Meta Privacy Concerns

Deleting Threads Is the Least of Your Meta Privacy Concerns

In less than two days, over 30 million users joined Meta’s new Twitter-like social media app, Threads. But the nascent platform is already facing scrutiny from users and critics. One of the most common complaints is that users can’t delete their Threads account without also deleting their Instagram account.

While that’s certainly something curious users should keep in mind before joining Threads, this isn’t as big a problem as people are making it out to be, nor is it the biggest reason to avoid Threads in the first place. It’s true that you will need to delete your Instagram account if you want to completely erase your Threads account — at least for now. Meta is “looking into” a way to separate Threads and Instagram accounts so users can fully delete one without losing the other. Until then, however, users can deactivate their Threads profile without losing their Instagram account.

How to deactivate your Threads account

Deactivation is like a soft deletion — it removes your Threads profile and all posts you’ve made, but your data still technically exists in the background and remains tied to your Instagram account. To other users, it will look as if you left Threads entirely, but your Instagram account will remain active and unaffected.

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse
Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

If you ever decide to reactivate your Threads profile, all that information will be reinstated. You can deactivate your threads account in the app under Settings > Account > Deactivate Profile > Deactivate Threads Profile.

So if deactivation effectively removes you from Threads, what’s all the fuss about? The issue comes down to Meta’s privacy policy.

Meta’s privacy policy sucks

As I pointed out in my Threads overview earlier this week, the other major criticism against Threads is its privacy policy — specifically the way it tracks and stores user data, which is far more aggressive compared to competitors like Bluesky or even Twitter.

To be fair, Threads is open about what types of data it collects, and you can limit some tracking in your iOS or Android settings. That said, the only way to completely prevent Threads from collecting and storing your data is to fully delete your account, which at this point requires you to delete your Instagram account as well. Even if you deactivate your Threads profile and delete the app, Meta will still hold onto any data it collected from you.

While that might sound unfair, the fact is Meta tracks Instagram and Facebook users just as much as Threads users. In other words, deleting your Threads account over data concerns but keeping Instagram is missing the point — all of Meta’s apps track you, so those who want absolutely nothing to do with Meta’s data collecting should avoid Threads, Instagram, and Facebook entirely. Otherwise, if you’re comfortable enough to be on one, you might as well be comfortable enough being on them all.


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