Meta will not recommend political content on Instagram and Threads

Meta will not recommend political content on Instagram and Threads


12 February 2024

Meta does not want its new service Threads to become another Twitter, with its heated political disputes and associated toxicity. Recently, the company announced its method to recommending political material on Instagram and its subsidiary app, Threads, which competes with Elon Musk's X. In short, it will no longer impose politics on its consumers. Similar to Meta's current Facebook standards, Instagram and Threads' recommendation systems would no longer overtly offer political content to users by default, the firm announced on Friday.

On Facebook, Meta has lowered the quantity of political information that shows in the Feed (previously the News Feed), Reels, Facebook Watch (videos), Groups You Should Join, and Pages You Might Like recommendations. Now, it's announcing that the same strategy would be used to Instagram and Reels in the months preceding up to the 2024 US elections.

Instagram announced modifications to its app, affecting sections such as Instagram Reels and Explore, as well as In-Feed Recommendations for both Instagram and Threads. With the latter change, Meta significantly differentiates its new app from Twitter, now known as X.

Twitter has frequently hosted political debates, extending its role as a real-time news network. However, Instagram has distanced Threads from news, delaying the installation of a "trends" function, as X does. In October, Instagram's president Adam Mosseri indicated that Threads will not "amplify news" on the network.

To be clear, the upcoming Meta changes will have an influence on Instagram's role in recommending material, but not on how it displays content from accounts users currently follow, according to the firm. For example, if an account that is not suitable for recommendation uploads political information, such as news about elections, legislation, or other social issues, that account's followers will still get it through the Feed and Stories. It will not be aggressively promoted to non-followers.

Instagram's Account Status function will allow professional accounts to verify their eligibility status and update or remove content from the page. They may also seek a review if they disagree with Instagram's assessment on a piece of material, or they can cease sharing content in order to be considered for recommendations again. (The corporation did not specify how long it would have to withdraw from political posts before being eligible again.)

Users who want political content recommended can also enable it in their Instagram and Threads settings. Facebook will get such power at some time in the future.

Removing politics off suggestion surfaces and making users to turn it back on if they want to view it are moves that follow years of Meta bearing responsibility for most of the world's political turmoil. Meta's social media platforms have been linked to genocide in Myanmar and the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. They have been accused of spreading hatred and disinformation, resulting in bloodshed. Clearly, the firm wants to establish greater space between what it promotes to its customers through algorithms and the type of stuff that may cause problems at scale.

The decision may also reassure lawmakers who are considering how to govern Big Tech corporations that have attained monopoly status.

Meta says the modifications will be rolled out to Instagram and Threads users "slowly over time to get this right," but doesn't specify when they will be fully available to all.

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