After acknowledging last week that Meta’s X competitor Threads won’t actively recommend political content, the company is now announcing a test of a new trend feature, “topics,” where such content may still arise. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday that Threads will begin a small test of the feature, first in the US, to help users find “timely topics” that others are talking about. social networks.
Today’s topics, as the section will be titled, are determined by Meta’s AI systems and based on what people are participating in Threads, Meta told TechCrunch. These topics appear in the app in two places: on the Search page and in the For You feed.
The machine learning algorithm will take into account various signals, including how many people are talking about a given topic and how many people are engaging with posts on the same topic. Meta said its team of content specialists will ensure that topics do not violate the site’s Community Guidelines and “other applicable integrity guidelines.” It also said that the Meta team will check to ensure that there are no duplicate topics and that the topics displayed are not “frivolous or misleading.”
In addition, users can flag potentially problematic content in case a topic appears to violate the standards but is not immediately caught by the site’s moderators.
Of course, what we want to know is whether Meta will restrict political content within the topics, since it was announced last week that it will no longer recommend political content in the top recommendations of Instagram and Threads. That change affects areas like Instagram Reels and Instagram Explore, as well as Instagram’s In-Feed Recommendations and Threads, the company explained at the time.
Meta tells us it won’t restrict politically themed topics, though.
“Political content can be a topic,” said a Meta representative. “We will remove political topics if they violate our Community Guidelines or other applicable integrity policies. Topics now aim to reflect timely, relevant topics in the app, and not personal recommendation,” they said.
In other words, since topics are determined by algorithms, but not individualized by end users, they will not be swept up in the political content cleanup of Threads from the recommendations.
The feature will make Threads more competitive with its rival X, formerly Twitter, as it will help users find timely conversations and debates happening on the platform, giving the app a more authentic that time feeling – something it lacks. It remains to be seen how much human management will be focused on the topics section, which will either be fully curated by Meta or largely left to an algorithm.