Meta will no longer recommend political content to users on Instagram or Threads, according to Instagram boss Adam Mosseri. He said that users will still see political content from accounts they follow, but the apps will no longer “proactively amplify” such posts.
The change, which will be rolling out “over the next few weeks,” will apply to public accounts in places where Meta’s recommendation algorithms suggest content or posts, like Instagram’s Reels and Explore, and suggested users on Threads.Mosseri didn’t elaborate on how Meta will determine what counts as “political,” but a Meta spokesperson said it would include election-related topics and social issues.
“Our definition of political content is content likely to be about topics related to government or elections; for example, posts about laws, elections, or social topics,” the spokesperson said. “These global issues are complex and dynamic, which means this definition will evolve as we continue to engage with the people and communities who use our platforms and external experts to refine our approach.”
While Meta will limit its suggestions related to these topics by default, those who do want to see such content will be able to opt-in via Instagram and Threads’ settings. The company said the update won’t affect how people see posts from accounts they’ve chosen to follow. “Our goal is to preserve the ability for people to choose to interact with political content, while respecting each person’s appetite for it,” Mosseri said.
The change is the latest way Meta has tried to discourage Threads users from discussing topics it considers potentially problematic. The company blocks “potentially sensitive” topics, including vaccine and covid-related terms, from search results in Threads. Mosseri has also said that Meta doesn’t want to “encourage” users to post about “politics and hard news” in the app.
But the change could also cause a new backlash among users and creators, some of whom already believe Meta unfairly suppresses certain types of content. Meta said that people with “professional” accounts on Instagram can use the “account status” feature to check if their posts are currently considered eligible for recommendations.