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Instagram, Threads to no longer 'proactively' recommend political content

By Ehren Wynder
Meta Platforms, owner of the Instagram and Threads social media apps, says it will stop recommending political content to users. File Photo by Thomas Ulrich/Pixabay
Meta Platforms, owner of the Instagram and Threads social media apps, says it will stop recommending political content to users. File Photo by Thomas Ulrich/Pixabay

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The Instagram and Threads social media apps will no longer proactively recommend political content to users without their permission, parent company Meta Platforms has announced.

Places on Instagram and Threads that recommend content to users, such as Explore, Reels, in-feed recommendations and Suggested Users, now will not recommend political content unless users change their settings to allow it, Meta said in a statement issued Friday.

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This will not affect content from accounts users already follow, it said, adding that the changes would roll out "slowly over time" without offering a precise date.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said in a post on Threads the goal of the policy change is to "to preserve the ability for people to choose to interact with political content, while respecting each person's appetite for it."

"Politics and hard news are important, I don't want to imply otherwise," Mosseri said. "But my take is, from a platform's perspective, any incremental engagement or revenue they might drive is not at all worth the scrutiny, negativity (let's be honest), or integrity risks that come along with them."

Professional accounts that post political content can check their account settings to see whether or not their posts make them eligible for recommendation, Meta said. If they wish to be recommended, they can edit or remove such posts and request a review if they disagree with the decision not to recommend them.

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They also can stop posting content for a time to be eligible for recommendation again, although Meta did not say how long that period would be.

The new policies are the same which Meta currently uses to regulate political content on Facebook.

Meta launched Threads in 2023 as a competitor to Elon Musk's X, which is often mired in heated political posts. The tech giant has made sweeping changes to its algorithms to push viral entertainment videos over polarizing political content after years of being accused of spreading disinformation ahead of the 2016 and 2020 elections.

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