Instagram’s Threads Introduces Privacy Controls to Disable Auto-Sharing

  • Samanta Blumberg

Instagram's Threads application has recently updated its privacy settings in response to user concerns regarding the involuntary sharing of their posts across other Meta platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. This feature met with considerable dissatisfaction from Threads users because many of them wanted to keep their Threads interactions distinct from the connections they had with friends and relatives on Facebook and Instagram. The discontent was evident as users notably disliked the idea of their posts automatically reaching relatives on Facebook, insisting on a separation of audiences. Complaints also targeted the suggested Threads displayed across the Meta network, criticizing them for being engineered to attract comments or being off-putting clickbait without meaningful context.

Meta sought to expand Threads' reach and rekindle interest by showcasing a carousel of recommended Threads on its various apps. It's a strategy reminiscent of past efforts to boost engagement, like when Meta popularized Reels and when it introduced the ability to communicate across Messenger and Instagram in 2020.

Following the backlash, Meta has now implemented an update that addresses these concerns. Users have received the new option to disable the automatic sharing function, affirmed by a company report to TechCrunch. Moreover, there is now a means to delete a Threads profile independently of an Instagram account, offering further control over user presence across the Meta ecosystem.

To adjust these settings, users can navigate to the “Privacy” section after clicking the two-dash menu on the top right of their Threads profile page. Within this menu, users have the option to individually deactivate the sharing of their Threads content to Instagram and Facebook. However, it's notable that the feature remains as default, requiring users to undertake the opt-out process proactively. The Threads team did not announce the change widely, perhaps hinting at Meta’s aggressive tactics to ensure Threads' propagation.

Originally, Threads leveraged its built-in Instagram user base to encourage rapid uptake by suggesting new sign-ups among friends and auto-following Instagram connections. This aggressive user acquisition strategy propelled Threads into a record-breaking launch, achieving 150 million downloads faster than any other app. Despite rumblings about the app losing momentum since its July debut, Meta's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has reported nearly 100 million monthly users just three months post-launch, underscoring the app’s initial success.