Mark Zuckerberg has pitched Meta’s Twitter copycat app, Threads, as a “friendly” refuge for public discourse online, framing it in sharp distinction to the more adversarial Twitter which is owned by billionaire Elon Musk.
“We are definitely focusing on kindness and making this a friendly place,” Meta CEO Zuckerberg said on Wednesday, shortly after the service’s launch.
Maintaining that idealistic vision for Threads – which attracted more than 70 million users in its first two days – is another story.
To be sure, Meta Platforms is no newbie at managing the rage-baiting, smut-posting internet hordes. The company said it would hold users of the new Threads app to the same rules it maintains on its photo and video sharing social media service, Instagram.
The Facebook and Instagram owner also has been actively embracing an algorithmic approach to serving up content, which gives it greater control over the type of fare that does well as it tries to steer more toward entertainment and away from news.
However, by hooking up Threads with other social media services like Mastodon, and given the appeal of microblogging to news junkies, politicians and other fans of rhetorical combat, Meta is also courting fresh challenges with Threads and seeking to chart a new path through them.
For starters, the company will not extend its existing fact-checking program to Threads, spokesperson Christine Pai said in an emailed statement on Thursday. This eliminates a distinguishing feature of how Meta has managed misinformation on its other apps.
Pai added that posts on Facebook or Instagram rated as false by fact-checking partners – which include a unit at Reuters – will carry their labels over if posted on Threads too.
Asked by Reuters to explain why it was taking a different approach to misinformation on…
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