On Threads, users say they are inundated with pro-life and transphobic messages

I didn’t open TopicsMeta’s hopeful rival X/Twitter, During months. But I did it on the first day of 2024, and the app looked nothing like I would have imagined.

Throughout my feed, I saw transphobic, pro-life, anti-porn, and Islamophobic messages. I don’t follow any of the accounts that post these threads; I didn’t interact with any content other than taking screenshots. And it turns out I’m not the only one whose Threads experience is flooded with these kinds of messages.

A screenshot of Threads.

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

A screenshot of a Threads article.

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

On X, people have been posting about this since late December 2023 and early this year. An user wrote: “This Threads app is a pain. I logged into it for the second time and it was nothing but INSANE conservative, right-wing nonsense about abortion, marriage, and everything else. ” Another job about their suggested timelines being “FILLED TO FULL with anti-trans content.”

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

“We want people to have a positive experience on Threads and we are continually improving 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, low-quality content that they may not be interested in, and we are taking steps to address this,” a Meta spokesperson said.

At the time of writing this article, my suggestions for posts in Threads are of the same nature: that of hate speech. Posts against transgender rights and women’s rights, as well as posts that attack marginalized people, seem pervasive on the app for me and others.

A screenshot of an article on Threads.

Credit: Son.

Such posts are even suggested through the Instagram app. On my feed, I was redirected to Threads several times, with messages that were homophobic, racist, or hateful to some extent.

A screenshot of a suggested Threads post on Instagram.

Credit: Instagram.

Threads, launched in early July 2023, has been accused of having a hate speech problem about a week after it was posted online. Several civil rights groups, including a nonprofit watchdog group Media matters to AmericaTHE Digital Hate CenterAnd GLAADcriticized the app for its insufficient safeguards against violence and misinformation. A letter to Meta from the groups accused the platform of supporting “neo-Nazi rhetoric, election lies, COVID and climate change denial, and more toxicity.”

The app still doesn’t have its own terms of service or community guidelines. Instead, Meta says the app is “specifically part of Instagram, so the Instagram Terms of Service and the Instagram Community Guidelines” also apply to Threads. Instagram’s community guidelines say the app removes content “that contains credible threats or hate speech, content that targets individuals to degrade or humiliate them, personal information intended to blackmail or harass someone and repeated spam messages.”

Instagram also emphasizes that hate speech is “never acceptable” – the company applies this to anyone who “attack(s) someone based on race, ethnicity, origin nationality, 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 it or to raise awareness.”

Meanwhile, parent company Meta defines hate speech as a “direct attack on 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.

In a statement to Mashable back in July, Meta said: “Our industry-leading integrity monitoring and human review tools are built into Threads. Like all of our apps, hate speech policies apply,” adding that the company is “considering additional ways to combat misinformation in future updates.” In December, Meta announced the addition of direct fact-checking in the Threads app; Mashable’s Shannon Connellan reported that the update aims “to combat misinformation on the app itself rather than referentially through 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 been turning to

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