Threads: Misinformation and Hate Speech on a Popular App

Threads, the new Twitter-like app launched by Meta Platforms Inc., has quickly gained popularity with over 100 million downloads. However, it has also become a breeding ground for misinformation and hate speech, according to recent research conducted by Media Matters.

The app is saturated with false information regarding the 2020 election, COVID-19 and vaccines, and gender-affirming care. Surprisingly, Meta launched Threads without implementing its fact-checking program, which has been effective in combating the spread of misinformation on Facebook and Instagram. This decision seems to have abandoned the anti-hate-speech policies that govern Meta’s other platforms.

Kayla Gogarty, research director at Media Matters, expressed her concern about the influx of extremist voices on Threads. Many individuals, including Nazi sympathizers, anti-gay extremists, and white supremacists, have flocked to the app and pushed the boundaries of content moderation. Gogarty emphasized that Meta has seemingly turned a blind eye to Instagram’s hate-speech policy, particularly regarding the prohibition of the anti-LGBTQ “groomer” slur.

In response to these issues, various organizations focused on civil rights, online justice, and democracy have jointly written a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, and other executives. The letter urges the company to develop and share comprehensive and fair policies that prioritize community trust, safety, and transparency specifically for the use of Threads.

At the time of writing, Meta has not yet provided a comment on these concerns.

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