Meta, formerly known as Facebook, recently launched its new Threads app, an Instagram-powered social network that focuses on text-based communication. In a surprising move, one of Meta’s top executives, Adam Mosseri, expressed his reservations about prioritizing news and political discourse on the platform. This blog post delves into Mosseri’s candid commentary and examines the potential impact on Threads as a platform. Let’s explore whether this strategic shift is a response to recent challenges faced by Meta and what it means for users and industry professionals.
Mosseri’s Perspective on News and Politics on Threads:
In response to a reporter’s question, Mosseri acknowledged that politics and hard news are bound to find their way onto Threads, just as they have on Instagram to some extent. However, he expressed his reluctance to actively encourage these verticals on the platform. Mosseri believes that while politics and hard news hold importance, the potential benefits in terms of engagement or revenue are overshadowed by the associated risks, such as scrutiny, negativity, and integrity concerns.
Meta’s Approach to Downranking Content:
It remains uncertain whether Meta will downrank news or political content on Threads, as it has periodically done on other platforms. The company has not yet responded to queries regarding this matter. However, Meta’s track record suggests that it may consider implementing similar restrictions if it believes it aligns with its overall strategy.
Challenges Faced by Meta in the News Industry:
Meta finds itself in a battle against governments seeking to enforce payment from the company for leveraging newsroom content for advertising and engagement purposes. For instance, in Canada, legislation demands that Meta compensates Canadian newsrooms, which could cost the company millions in revenue. Meta responded by blocking Canadian outlets from appearing in search results on its platforms, a restriction that could potentially extend to Threads.
Similar actions were taken by Google in response to comparable laws in Australia in 2022. These challenges highlight the ongoing tensions between tech giants, news organizations, and regulatory bodies, as they grapple with finding a balance between fair compensation and platform control.
Threads’ Role Amidst Twitter’s Struggles:
Mosseri admitted that the turmoil surrounding Twitter under Elon Musk’s ownership influenced the decision to launch Threads. This acknowledgment suggests that Meta aims to provide an alternative platform for government agencies, politicians, and journalists to disseminate breaking news and emergency notifications.
The launch of Meta’s Threads app has raised questions about the company’s stance on news and political content. Adam Mosseri’s candid statement indicates a shift away from prioritizing these topics on the platform. While the exact implications for Threads users and industry professionals remain uncertain, Meta’s actions in response to legislative challenges in Canada and Australia offer some insight. As the situation unfolds, it will be interesting to see how Meta navigates the delicate balance between fostering user engagement, addressing regulatory concerns, and shaping the future of Threads.