EXCLUSIVE: Expert warns Meta's Threads may be a target for SCAMMERS

EXCLUSIVE: Beware if you’ve signed up for Threads: Expert warns Meta’s new app is the perfect target for SCAMMERS – here’s how to spot fake accounts

  • Cybersecurity expert, Jake Moore warns that scams will likely pop up on Threads
  • Fake accounts and misinformation could also crop up following the huge launch 
  • Follow the Daily Mail on Threads

After weeks of anticipation, Meta finally launched its ‘Twitter-killer’ app, Threads, last night. 

While more than 10 million people have already signed up for the app, a cybersecurity expert has warned that Threads could be the perfect target for scammers.

Jake Moore, ESET’s Global Security Advisor, told MailOnline that misinformation and fake accounts could be on the cards for the social media platform as it begins to gain traction in more than 100 countries.

Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Moore said: ‘As with any new platform, there is always a scramble at the beginning to gain a following and traction.

‘Fake accounts usually have a good chance of developing a large crowd of followers when the gates open at the same time for all types of accounts.’ 

Cybersecurity expert, Jake Moore warns that new scams will likely arise on Threads

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While Threads is a new platform, an Instagram account is required to gain access, meaning that standalone accounts cannot be made. 

Even still, Mr Moore criticised the current verification system on Threads in which anyone can purchase a blue tick.

This comes as part of the pre-existing Meta Verified subscription service that is incorporated in both Facebook and Instagram.

For a blue tick, users pay a monthly cost of $11.99/£9.99 on the web or $14.99/£11.99 for iOS services.

This paid-for system is very similar to Twitter Blue, with users also charged $11.00/£11.00 for iOS each month and $8.00/£9.60 for web verification. 

But again, much like Twitter, this could give rise to serious issues of fraudulent profiles on Threads, making it easier to conduct scams.

Following the launch of Twitter Blue, users also noticed a huge wave of accounts impersonating celebrities. 

One person pretended to be the former President George W Bush – who appeared to post a distasteful tweet about Iraq – and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

But this issue is not unique to Twitter and Mr Moore claims it could arise on Threads too – whether the profile is verified or not.

He continued: ‘Furthermore, with the issues surrounding verified accounts where anyone can now purchase a verified tick, it simply offers anyone the ability to appear to be someone else. 

Follow the Daily Mail on Threads 

Fake accounts and misinformation could also crop up following the huge launch of Threads

‘For example, there is a risk of someone creating an account as an organisation or public figure and paying for verification only to then follow lots of accounts and gain reciprocal follows. 

READ MORE: Meta Threads review: DailyMail.com tests Zuckerberg’s new ‘Twitter-killer’ app 

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‘This can lead to problems such as financial scams, misinformation and disinformation down the line.’

To counter these risks, Mr Moore urges users to ‘remain vigilant’, questioning what they read and where it is sourced amidst the fresh buzz for Threads.

‘People need to double check accounts before following them but this can be challenging with a new platform,’ he said.

‘Therefore, people must remain vigilant to what they read in the coming weeks on Threads and try to verify the information elsewhere before reposting.’

In response to this, Meta outlined that safety measures are instilled in its platforms to make sure its verification system is effective. 

To get a blue tick, accounts must meet minimum activity requirements, such as a prior posting history and must be at least 18 years old.

Users must submit a government ID too – matching with their Instagram and Facebook profile.

The tech giant also assured that 40,000 people are currently working on the safety of Meta and its protective infrastructure.

More than $16 billion has been invested in building up these teams which has been deployed in Threads from day one. 

Mr Moore’s concerns come amid other worries surrounding the platform itself and its potential to encroach on personal privacy.

When using Threads, the app collects 14 different types of personal data that can be linked to your identity.

Alongside location and browser history, this includes financial information, purchase history and even health data. 

Zuckerberg’s Meta already uses the information of users to drive personalised advertisements on its platforms.

So, this may be why a chief European Union (EU) regulator told Politico that Threads is not yet launching there.

Incoming EU regulations – known as the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act – are seeking to rule out the use of sensitive information in advertisement profiling. 

The European Union has been approached for comment. 

Follow the Daily Mail on Threads

What is Threads? Everything you need to know about Zuckerberg’s Twitter rival – and what it means for Elon

What is Threads?

Threads is a new microblogging app that was launched by Meta Platforms at 7pm EST and at midnight in the UK.

It is a text-based conversation platform which is linked to Instagram, allowing users to follow accounts they are already interested in on the photo-sharing platform.

Users can share their point of view in thread-like posts that appear very similar to tweets.

‘Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow,’ the App Store’s description reads.

‘Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favorite creators and others who love the same things — or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.’

Threads is currently available for pre-order for users aged 12+ on the App Store

The app is available in 31 different languages, including but not limited to English, Traditional Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

Location and browser history is used to make Threads function, according to Meta’s terms of service. 

What does it mean for Elon Musk? 

Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads comes just days after Elon Musk announced a temporary cap on how many posts a user can read on Twitter. 

Now, Twitter users who chalk up the $8 a month to become a verified user can view up to 6,000 daily tweets. 

Unverified users can see up to 600 tweets a day, and new unverified accounts can see up to 300 tweets a day.

Threads is likely to be a huge source of competition between Zuckerberg and Musk, with the pair already agreeing to a physical fight last month.

In a tweet earlier this week, Musk appeared to take a swipe at the new platform.

‘Thank goodness they’re so sanely run,’ he wrote in response to a group of Thread screenshots.

Users will be able to share their point of view in thread-like posts that appear very similar to tweets

What personal data will Threads collect?

Threads collects 14 different types of data that may be linked to your identity.

Alongside location and browser history, this includes financial information, purchase history and even health data.

The App Store also suggests that identifiers and ‘sensitive information’ are collected too, in addition to personal contact data.

But data use can vary depending on your use of the features on offer.

A full list of its data collection is below:  

  • Health and Fitness
  • Financial Information
  • Contact Information
  • User Content
  • Browsing History
  • Usage Data
  • Diagnostics
  • Purchases
  • Location
  • Contacts 
  • Search History
  • Identifiers
  • Sensitive Information
  • Other Data 

How and when can you download it? 

Threads is free and is currently available for pre-order for users aged 12 and above on Apple’s App Store.

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