Threads introduced a search function, but it was immediately censored. Meta has excluded a group of “sensitive” topics – the blacklist includes, among others: COVID-19 and vaccines.
The relatively new social networking site Threads recently introduced a search function, but there were immediate doubts about it. Meta has used quite strict filters and blocked some topics that may be controversial.
Threads censors searches related to COVID-19 and vaccines
Currently, users can search for many, but not all, topics. The company classified as “sensitive”, among others: when asked about the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines or adult content.
Blocked passwords related to the epidemic include: covid, coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccines, covid vaccines. That’s not all, because Mark Zuckerberg’s company has also blocked phrases that may lead to erotic or violent materials. These included the words sex, naked, and gore.
In a comment for The Washington Post, Meta admits that the blockades were introduced consciously, but only as a “temporary countermeasure.” – The search function temporarily does not provide results for entries that may show potentially sensitive content – a company spokesperson explains to journalists.
Adam Mosseri, director of Instagram, who also leads the Threads project, speaks in a similar tone. He points out that the company is “trying to learn from its mistakes” and believes that “it’s better to play it safe when introducing a search function.”
Instagram and disinformation about the coronavirus
As “TWP” reminds, Meta actually made mistakes earlier, which could have been a painful lesson for the company. Especially at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Instagram had considerable problems with rapidly spreading disinformation.
Critics of the platform warned that the website’s algorithms could suggest users new content that could draw Internet users into a nest of conspiracy theories. Simple phrases such as vaccines or 5G displayed a large number of disinformation entries directly under the search bar.
The meta has already intervened on a point-by-point basis in search results on websites such as Facebook and Instagram. This happens especially when specific hashtags or phrases start to lead to a large number of entries with content banned on the platform. This happened, among others, for QAnon-related posts.