Instagram and Threads will soon recommend less political content

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It’ll soon be easier to avoid seeing political content across Instagram and Threads unless users explicitly choose to have it recommended to them. In a blog post published on Friday, Meta announced that it’s expanding an existing Reels policy that limits political content from people you’re not following (including posts about social issues) from appearing in recommended feeds to more broadly cover the company’s Threads and Instagram platforms.

“Our goal is to preserve the ability for people to choose to interact with political content, while respecting each person’s appetite for it,“ said Instagram head Adam Mosseri, announcing on Threads that the changes will be applied over the next few weeks. Facebook is also expected to roll out these new controls at a later, undisclosed date.

Users who still want to have content “likely to mention governments, elections, or social topics that affect a group of people and/or society at large” recommended to them can choose to turn off this limitation within their account settings. The changes will apply to public accounts when enabled and only in places where content is being recommended, such as Explore, Reels, in-feed recommendations, and suggested users. The update won’t change how users view content from accounts they choose to follow, so accounts that aren’t eligible to be recommended can still post political content to their followers via their feed and Stories.

This is what the filtering options could look like in Instagram, subject to any changes before it’s rolled out.
Image: Meta

For creators, Meta says that “if your account is not eligible to be recommended, none of your content will be recommended regardless of whether or not all of your content goes against our recommendations guidelines.” When these changes do go live, professional accounts on Instagram will be able to use the Account Status feature to check if posting political content is impacting their eligibility for recommendation. Professional accounts can also use Account Status to contest decisions that revoke this eligibility, alongside editing, removing, or pausing politically related posts until the account is eligible to be recommended again.

These updates join the previous efforts Meta has made to distance itself from the world of news and politics in recent years. In 2022, Facebook found that less than 3 percent of the content its US users see in their feeds is politically related. Mosseri has also previously said that political content won’t be encouraged on Threads or Instagram because the limited engagement it provides isn’t worth the scrutiny or negativity that could be directed toward the platforms — a concern that certainly feels worth considering ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

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