On Threads, users say they’re flooded with pro-life and transphobic posts

I haven’t opened Threads, Meta’s hopeful rival to X/Twitter, in months. But I did it on the first day of 2024 and the app was nothing like I had imagined.

Throughout my feed, I saw transphobic, pro-life, anti-pornography, and Islamophobic posts. I don’t follow any of the accounts that post these threads; I haven’t interacted with any content other than taking screenshots. And it turns out I’m not the only one whose Threads experience is inundated with these types of posts.

An example of the *many* pro-life posts on Threads.
Credit: Threads.

A screenshot of a Threads post.

An example of the *many* pro-life posts on Threads.
Credit: Threads.

On X, people have been posting about this since late December 2023 and early this year. An user wrote: “That Threads app is dumb. I logged into it a second time and it was nothing but CRAZY right-wing conservative nonsense about abortion, marriage, and everything else.” Other aware about the suggested timelines being “FULL TO THE BRIM with anti-trans content.”

In a statement to Mashable, Meta acknowledged that “some users” are being shown “this type of repetitive, low-quality content.”

“We want people to have a positive experience on Threads and we continually improve what people see on the app. In addition to removing content that violates our community guidelines, we are aware that some users see this type of content. Repetitive and low-profile content quality that they may not be interested in, and we are taking steps to address it,” a Meta spokesperson said.

As of this writing, my suggested posts on Threads are of the same nature: hate speech ones. Posts that go against transgender and women’s rights, as well as posts that attack marginalized people, appear rampant on the app for me and others.

A screenshot of a post on Threads.


Credit: Threads.

Posts of this type are even suggested through the Instagram application. On my feed, I’ve been directed to Threads multiple times, with posts that are homophobic, racist, or hateful in some way.

A screenshot of a suggested Threads post on Instagram.


Credit: Instagram.

Threads, which launched in early July 2023, was accused of having a hate speech issue about a week after its launch. Several civil rights groups, including a nonprofit watchdog group. The media is important to the United Stateshe Center for the fight against digital hateand CHEERFULcriticized the app for having insufficient barriers against violence and misinformation. A letter to Meta of the groups. accused the platform of supporting “neo-Nazi rhetoric, election lies, COVID and climate change denialism, and more toxicity.”

The app does not yet have its own Terms of Use or community guidelines. Instead, meta says the app is “specifically part of Instagram, so Instagram Terms of Use and the Instagram Community Guidelines” also apply to Threads. Instagram’s Community Guidelines note that the app removes content “that contains credible threats or hate speech, content directed at private individuals to demean or embarrass them, personal information intended to blackmail or harass someone, and unwanted repeated messages.

Instagram also emphasizes that hate speech is “never okay”; the company applies this to anyone who “attacks[s] “any person based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability or illness.” But the app also says it can allow hate speech if it is shared “to challenge or to raise awareness.”

Meanwhile, parent company Meta defines hate speech as a “direct attack against people – rather than concepts or institutions – on the basis of what we call protected characteristics.” This includes written or visual “expressions of contempt” and “self-admission of intolerance,” such as Islamophobia and homophobia. However, the content offered to users on Threads appears to fall into these same categories.

SEE ALSO:

COVID is on the rise, but you won’t see it on Threads

In a statement to Mashable in July, Meta said, “Our industry-leading human review and integrity compliance tools are connected to Threads. Like all of our apps, hate speech policies apply,” adding that the company is “considering additional ways to address misinformation in future updates.” In December, Meta announced that it will add direct fact checking to the Threads app; Mashable’s Shannon Connellan reported that the update aims to “address misinformation in the app itself rather than referentially across its other platforms.”

Despite Meta’s policies, it appears Threads has a long way to go with its alleged hate speech problem on the platform. Users have taken to X and Threads itself all week to point out the type of content being sent to them in their feeds, and almost always, the posts appear to be unwanted.

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