Meta has decided to stop proactively suggesting political content to users by default on its Instagram and Threads apps.
Moving into a year of major global elections, the tech giant is trying to distance itself further from competitor apps like X, which has slashed its content-moderation team and may become a hotbed of misinformation and political toxicity.
“If you decide to follow accounts that post political content, we don’t want to get between you and their posts, but we also don’t want to proactively recommend political content from accounts you don’t follow,” Meta said in a blog post Friday. “So we are extending our existing approach to how we treat political content.”
Meta is applying an approach to Instagram and Threads that it previously used on Facebook, which has already undergone a cutback in political content recommendations across suggestions on Feed, Reels, Watch, Groups and Pages.
“If political content – potentially related to things like laws, elections, or social topics – is posted by an account that is not eligible to be recommended, that account’s content can still reach their followers in Feed and Stories,” the company said.
By ending default political content recommendations, Meta is further drawing a definitive line between Threads and X. While both platforms possess many of the same features, users won’t be able to seek out political debate on Threads, which aligns with Meta’s original vision for the app.
When Threads launched in 2023, Meta decided to focus on avoiding offensive and incendiary user debates over current events by blocking potentially contentious terms like “covid,” “vaccinations,” “sex,” “porn” etc.
In October, Instagram head Adam Mosseri stated that Threads “isn’t anti-news,” but its “simply trying to avoid over-promising and under-delivering to an incredibly powerful group, which is a mistake we've made as a company many times in the past.”
Meta's new political recommendation options are arriving after the company admitted to playing a role in proliferating political unrest across the globe, including genocide in Myanmar and the January 6th attack on the Capital in 2021.
Users who still want political posts recommended to them will have the option to toggle them on in Settings.
Finally, Meta says the changes will roll out on Instagram and Threads “slowly over time to get this right,” offering no specifics on when users can expect to use the option.