Instagram, Threads stop recommending political content ahead of 2024 election

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On Friday, Meta announced that it will not “proactively recommend” political content on Instagram or Threads, similar to the way in which they have restricted it on Facebook over the last few years. 

In a statement on its website, Meta said, “People have told us they want to see less political content, so we have spent the last few years refining our approach on Facebook to reduce the amount of political content – including politicians’ accounts- you see in the feed.” 

“We’ve recently extended this approach in Reels, Explore, and In-Feed Recommendations on Instagram and Threads, too,” the statement added.

The announcement noted that they are “preserving your ability to find and interact with political content that’s meaningful to you if that’s what you’re interested in on Facebook Feed” using an AI system. “We’ve shifted away from ranking political content in Facebook Feed based on engagement signals,” it added. 

The company also revealed on the Instagram website that they would be allowing users to select if they still want to see political content or not, and that “control will also roll out on Facebook at a later date.” 

The Threads platform was rolled out by Meta last summer as a way to rival X, formerly known as Twitter, after Elon Musk vowed to make it a free speech platform. Some left-leaning political commentators like Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz, who quickly moved over to Threads, were not happy with the new political censorship on the platform.

In response to CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan suggesting the move would be good for toning down “radicalization,” Lorenz claimed the harm of the policy”is not primarily to political campaigns and newsrooms, but instead marginalized groups.” 

“Already, this is restricting the speech of LGBTQ people, Black people, disabled people, women, and public health experts, climate scientists, and more who are having their content limited,” She said. “It’s also not just politics, it’s “social commentary”, an incredibly vague and subjective term. I don’t understand how any journalist can support this.”

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