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Meta’s Threads is temporarily blocking searches about Covid-19

15.09.2023 02:48 AM
Meta’s Threads is temporarily blocking searches about Covid-19
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Meta’s Threads is temporarily blocking searches about Covid-19

Threads, the highly anticipated social media application under the umbrella of Facebook's parent company, Meta, is facing criticism for its decision to restrict searches related to terms like "coronavirus," "Covid," and other pandemic-related inquiries.

This action by the tech giant to block coronavirus-related searches on its platform coincides with a recent surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States, according to data from the CDC. This comes more than three years into the global pandemic. The initial report about Threads blocking coronavirus-related searches was disclosed by The Washington Post.

In response to the controversy, a spokesperson from Meta informed CNN that the company recently began introducing keyword search functionality for Threads in additional countries just last week. They clarified, stating, "The search functionality currently does not provide results for keywords that may potentially display sensitive content. People will be able to search for keywords like 'COVID' in future updates, once we are confident in the quality of the results."

As of Monday, when CNN conducted searches within the Threads app for terms like "coronavirus," "Covid," and "Covid-19," users were met with a blank page displaying the message: "No results." Even searches for "vaccine" yielded no results. However, for these queries, the Threads app did provide a link directing users to the CDC's website pertaining to Covid-19 or vaccinations, depending on the specific search.

Meta has not disclosed which other keyword searches are currently yielding no results.

It is worth noting that Meta, including its Facebook platform and other social media channels, faced criticism in the early stages of the pandemic for the apparent dissemination of Covid-19-related misinformation online.

Threads was officially launched by Meta in early July and quickly gained over 100 million sign-ups within its first week, capitalizing on the tumultuous period at Twitter, now known as X. However, the initial excitement waned as users realized that the platform, in its current form, lacked many of the features that had made X popular. Threads recently introduced a web version and keyword search functionality, but these limitations underscore that the platform still has some refinement ahead to fully replace the real-time search and engagement experience that social media users have historically enjoyed with X.

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