Instapaper Is Blocking Users in Europe Until It Figures Out New Privacy Rules [Update: It's Back]

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Instapaper has informed its European users that it will temporarily cut off their access to the platform starting today. The reason? This Pinterest-owned service needs more than the two years it had to comply with the European Union’s new batch of privacy rules that go into effect on May 25. Sorry, Europe!

Here’s the message sent by Instapaper only a day before the regulations go into effect, brought to our attention by developer Owen Williams:

Starting tomorrow May 24, 2018, access to the Instapaper service will be temporarily unavailable for residents in Europe as we continue to make changes in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect May 25, 2018. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we intend to restore access as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about your account, would like us to generate an export of your saves, or want to check in on our progress, please let us know at We look forward to having the same Instapaper service you know and love accessible in Europe in the very near future. Thanks for your patience.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was designed to grant users more control over their data and incentivize companies to properly protect it. Once it goes into effect, companies operating in the EU will have an obligation to tell users there when they’re looking to collect personal data, and they’ll need to get explicit consent from users, too. The law also forces companies to let users view and edit the information that’s collected, and even request that data be deleted if they decide to revoke access to it.

With fines of up to 20 million euros, or up to four percent of a company’s revenue (whichever is higher), companies may find it less risky to temporarily cut off European users while attempting to implement the broad language present in the GDPR articles designed to accommodate the different uses of data by companies and governments throughout Europe. Instapaper’s delay in terms of compliance shouldn’t cost it any money in terms of fines, but it will most definitely cost it some users.


According to Instapaper engineer Brian Donohue, the company is working to resolve the issue to comply with the GDPR, which is seemingly easier said than done.

Update August 7, 12:45pm: After over two months of inaccessibility, Instapaper has returned to the European Union, this time as an independent company. “We are very sorry for the extended downtime and, as a token of our apology, we are giving six months of Instapaper Premium to all EU users affected by the outage,” said Instapaper employees Brian Donohue and Rodion Gusev in a blog post announcing the service’s updated compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).