The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, is clarifying the decision made by the social media giant’s latest app, Threads. Contrary to earlier reports that the app would not amplify news content due to the risks associated with such a young platform, Mosseri has assured that the current block on health-related search terms such as “COVID” is only a temporary measure. Initially brought to light by The Washington Post, Threads has chosen to block various terms, aiming to prioritize user safety and nurture a “positive, friendly” environment. This list of blocked terms includes not only explicit words but also those pertinent to the ongoing COVID pandemic, including “vaccines” and “coronavirus”.
Mosseri emphasized that Threads isn’t positioning itself as “anti-news.” While it doesn’t intend to amplify news content, users have the freedom to follow news accounts and gather information. However, restricting discussions and access to information on a topic as critical as COVID-19 raised concerns among many, including journalists like The WaPo’s Taylor Lorenz.
In a recent interaction on Threads, Mosseri confirmed the company’s plans to lift this blockade. He mentioned that, at present, other concerns, such as the situation in Gaza, are taking precedence in terms of content management. The company has also been focusing on other prioritized projects but is set on revisiting the decision to unblock COVID-related terms.
As platforms evolve, balancing user safety with the free flow of information becomes crucial. Instagram’s Threads is in its nascent stages, and while fostering a positive culture is commendable, access to critical information shouldn’t be compromised. In this digital age, it’s essential for platforms to strike the right balance, ensuring users remain informed yet safe.