Meta’s new social media app Threads, which is linked to Instagram, has rolled out a new feature that allows users to adjust how much and whether fact-checked information should be demoted on their feed. This feature is aimed at giving users more control over their own experience and reducing the spread of misinformation.
Threads is a text-based social media app that was launched by Meta in July 2023. It is designed to compete with X, the new platform created by Elon Musk after he left Twitter. Threads is connected to Instagram, so users can sign up with their existing Instagram account and follow the same people they follow on Instagram. Users can post up to 500 characters in one post, along with images, videos, and GIFs. Threads also supports verification badges, which are carried over from Instagram.
Threads is different from other social media apps in that it does not have any ads or algorithms. Instead, it relies on user feedback and moderation to rank and filter posts. Users can upvote, downvote, report, or share posts from other users. They can also block or mute users they don’t want to see on their feed.
How does the new fact-checking feature work?
The new fact-checking feature on Threads is an optional setting that users can access from their profile. It lets users decide how much and whether fact-checked information should be demoted on their feed. Users can choose from three options:
- Default: This option follows the standard Threads policy, which is to demote posts that contain false or misleading information, based on third-party fact-checkers. Users will see a label on such posts, indicating that they have been fact-checked and rated as false or partly false.
- More: This option further demotes posts that contain false or misleading information, making them less visible on the feed. Users will also see a warning message before they can view or interact with such posts, asking them to confirm that they want to proceed.
- Less: This option reduces the demotion of posts that contain false or misleading information, making them more visible on the feed. Users will still see a label on such posts, but they will not see a warning message before they can view or interact with them.
Users can change their fact-checking setting at any time, and it will only affect their own feed. It will not affect how other users see their posts or how their posts are ranked by Threads.
Why did Threads introduce this feature?
Threads introduced this feature to give users more control over their own experience and to reduce the spread of misinformation. According to Meta, the feature is based on user feedback and research, which showed that some users wanted more flexibility and transparency in how fact-checking works on Threads.
Meta also said that the feature is part of its broader efforts to combat misinformation and promote credible information on its platforms. Meta has been working with more than 80 independent fact-checking organizations around the world, covering more than 60 languages, to verify the accuracy of information on Threads, Instagram, and Facebook.
Meta also said that it will continue to improve its fact-checking systems and policies, and that it welcomes feedback from users and experts on how to make them better.
How have users and experts reacted to this feature?
The new fact-checking feature on Threads has received mixed reactions from users and experts. Some users have praised the feature for giving them more choice and autonomy over their feed, and for allowing them to see different perspectives and opinions. Some users have also said that the feature will help them learn more about the sources and evidence behind the information they see on Threads.
However, some users have criticized the feature for potentially enabling the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories, and for undermining the credibility and authority of fact-checkers. Some users have also said that the feature will create more confusion and polarization among users, and that it will make it harder for them to distinguish between facts and opinions.
Similarly, some experts have welcomed the feature for giving users more agency and responsibility over their information consumption, and for encouraging them to think critically and independently. Some experts have also said that the feature will foster more dialogue and debate among users, and that it will challenge them to question their own assumptions and biases.
However, some experts have warned that the feature could backfire and have negative consequences for the quality and reliability of information on Threads. Some experts have also said that the feature could undermine the trust and confidence of users in fact-checkers, and that it could create more opportunities for manipulation and misinformation by bad actors.