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Mark Zuckerberg Is Making a List and He’s Checking It Twice

Threads finally launched for European users Thursday roughly five months after the X competitor rolled out in the United States. The rookie social media platform also received some fact-checking filters that might put advertisers’ minds at ease. Meanwhile, Americans received AI-generated backgrounds for Instagram Stories. With all this gift-giving, it seems Zuck has a naughty and nice list this year.

The European Threads launch was reportedly held up by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which is investigating Meta for being one of the “gatekeepers” of Big Tech. EU users can sign up for Threads without linking their Instagram account, and that’s likely to appease European regulators. It’s safe to say the EU is on Zuck’s naughty list.

Threads’ branch into Europe will undoubtedly steal more users from Elon Musk’s X. The latest data shows that Threads is still a slow grower in the US, with an expected 23.7 million users in 2023 compared to X’s 56.1 million, according to Insider Intelligence.

Musk’s “free speech” platform received a fresh privacy complaint around its European ads this week, and any spooked advertisers may rush to Threads. The X CEO is definitely on Zuck’s naughty list (Zuck is probably on Elon’s naughty list as well, but that list is too long to get into).

Threads also received an update this week that will filter your feed with fact-checked information. You can toggle these settings to have more or less content appearing that’s verified by third-party fact-checkers, according to an update from Meta Tuesday. While that’s great for users, that also might be even greater for advertisers, who continue to look at Threads as a “brand safe” option to X. Advertisers are definitely on Zuck’s nice list.

Across the pond, U.S. Instagram users received a feature on Wednesday to add an AI-generated background to their Instagram story that appears to be powered by the same tech as Meta’s AI image generator.

The background art is the same, slightly terrifying AI art that we saw using Imagine with Meta AI. There are a few default backgrounds, but you can also type in whatever you want to appear behind you, and Meta AI will generate a unique image for you. To be fair, the feature proved to be pretty good at discerning foreground from background. It seems American users are on the nice list as well.

The new Instagram feature feels like the most in-your-face form of artificial intelligence. The integration of generative AI into one of Meta’s most successful products, Instagram Stories, means the company is committed to this technology. You can’t use the feature to edit people, but that certainly seems like it’s coming down the pipeline.

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