Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s latest social media platform is censoring topics including COVID-19 information, The Washington Post first reported.
Users cannot obtain search results for terms related to COVID-19 or vaccines, and instead receive a blank page and a pop-up link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, according to the Post. Threads also blocks the words “sex,” “nude,” “gore,” “porn,” “coronavirus,” “vaccines” and “vaccination” from search results, but Meta declined to provide a comprehensive list.
“The search functionality temporarily doesn’t provide results for keywords that may show potentially sensitive content,” Meta told the Post. The tech giant added that it will enable search functionality for the terms “once we are confident in the quality of the results.”
Threads also yields a blank page when searching the terms “communist,” “chinese communist party” and “chinese virus,” the Daily Caller News Foundation found. It also blocks “fentanyl” and other drugs from search results.
NEWS: 🧵 blocks searches related to covid and vaccines as cases rise pic.twitter.com/myvdi6fApP
— X News Daily (@xDaily) September 12, 2023
Public health experts condemned Threads’ suppression of information, according to the Post.
“The decision to censor searches about covid will make it harder for public health experts and people who work in public health to get out important info to the public about how they can protect themselves,” Columbia University Director of Science Communication Lucky Tran told the Post.
Instead of blocking searches, Threads should “elevate multiple trusted sources and address misinformation,” Tran stated.
Meta reportedly hurried to release Threads in response to Elon Musk’s Twitter facing difficulties at the time, according to Axios. Media outlets such as CNN Business and Vox classified Threads as a possible “Twitter killer” when it first launched.
Prominent conservatives such as Donald Trump Jr. and DC Draino posted about the censorship they experienced when Threads first launched. Users who attempted to follow them received a message asking if they were “sure” that they wanted to follow them, and flagged that the accounts had “repeatedly posted false information,” according to screenshots.
Popular conservative social media account Libs of TikTok posted that “[n]on-binary isn’t real” on Threads, and the newly launched app promptly took it down because of its “hate speech” guidelines, a screenshot shared with the DCNF showed.
Meta and Instagram did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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