Twitter rival Threads, run by Meta, wants to steer away from containing a lot of news and politics content, hoping to become more celebrity and influencer-dominated.
Platform’s intention: Meta executives aim to make Threads a platform where people do not discuss policy issues or catch up on current news.
* Threads is designed to be a text-version of Instagram, primarily featuring the content of celebrities, influencers, and brands.
Potential implications: Some critics question whether this approach will reduce public engagement with political content, potentially decreasing voter turnout.
* “When folks see more political content in their news feed, they tend to become more interested in politics… they tend to report voting at higher rates,” said former Facebook research scientist Solomon Messing.
Business Reasoning: Meta believes that news and politics content does not generate a substantial return on investment compared to celebrity-focused content.
* “Overall, the amount of engagement and therefore money the company makes from hard news has shown to be quite small,” Alex Stamos, former chief security officer at Facebook, noted.
Possible challenges: However, with a large influx of users coming from Twitter, Threads may still experience high volumes of political discourse.
* Many users migrating from Twitter are keen on discussing news and politics, and may continue this behaviour on Threads.
Past shifts: Meta’s distancing itself from news is a continuation of the company’s past actions.
* In 2016, Facebook updated its algorithm to favor posts from friends and family over news articles. Similarly, on Instagram, content from news organizations tends to be overshadowed by lighter, lifestyle-focused content.
Meta executives are aiming for Threads to maximise profit while avoiding the kind of controversy that followed the 2016 elections. However, some scholars argue that social media platforms should encourage political debates and discussions that influence public engagement and voting.
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