Instagram Threads won’t promote political or hard news content

Innovation

Instagram lead Adam Mosseri said in two Threads posts Friday that the new app would not encourage “politics and hard news” on its platform, a far cry from the promoted political content found on its rival platform Twitter.
Twitter competitor Threads

The announcement of the social media app Threads is displayed in Apple’s US App Store. (Photo by Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images)

dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Key Facts

Mosseri said in a Threads conversation that the new platform will inevitably contain politics and hard news, but that Threads is “not going to do anything to encourage those verticals,”—an approach adopted by Facebook in 2021.

Mosseri noted that the engagement or revenue such content might drive is not worth the scrutiny, negativity or integrity risks they present to the platform.

“The goal isn’t to replace Twitter,” Mosseri added, referencing the rival platform that has greatly encouraged political content and hosted live audio conversations featuring former Twitter CEO Elon Musk and GOP presidential candidates.

Both Meta and Twitter allow users to pay to be verified on their respective platforms.

Crucial Quote

“The goal isn’t to replace Twitter,” Mosseri said. “The goal is to create a public square for communities on Instagram that never really embraced Twitter and for communities on Twitter (and other platforms) that are interested in a less angry place for conversations, but not all of Twitter.”

Big Number

70 million. That’s how many sign-ups Threads hit Friday morning.

Key Background

The choice for Threads to steer clear of news and politics on its platform is likely informed by troubles Facebook had before it reduced such content in 2021. A study found that in 2020, during the lead-up to the presidential election, Facebook spread fake news faster than any other social websites.

A separate 2021 study concluded the website could have prevented more than 10 billion views on popular pages that posted misinformation on Facebook prior to the election. By early 2021, the social media site changed its algorithm to lessen the amount of political content in users’ feeds.

The platform has since maintained a stark contrast to Twitter, which after its $44 billion purchase at the hands of Musk, has encouraged political content. Musk, who stays active on the app, has encouraged politicians to engage with him on Twitter Spaces—allowing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fl) to launch his presidential campaign using the live audio feature. Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson also uses Twitter as his platform to upload episodes of his independent commentary show. On Carlson’s first episode of the show, he said he and his team were “grateful” to be on Twitter and were told there were no “gatekeepers” on the platform.

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