Instagram’s new Threads app ‘will do nothing to promote’ politics and ‘hard news’, says Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said in a Threads conversation with The Verge’s Alex Heath.
The extra scrutiny, negativity and integrity risks that come with politics and hard news aren’t worth the “complication or incremental revenue,” Mosseri wrote. “There are more than enough amazing communities (sports, music, fashion, beauty, entertainment, etc.) to make a vibrant platform without needing to get into politics or hard news.” (Mosseri’s strong point here is likely informed by his time with Facebook’s news feed.)
In recent years, Meta has distanced itself from current affairs and politics, among others reduce the amount of political content that users see on Facebook. It even dropped “News” from the Facebook channel name last year. The company also responded to a new Canadian law that would force it to pay for local news by saying it will take news from Facebook and Instagram in the country.
The Instagram boss later clarified his initial response, saying that while Threads won’t “discourage or downplay news or politics,” it won’t “court” them like Facebook has done in the past. “If we’re honest, we were too quick to promise too much to the industry at Facebook in the early 2010s, and it would be a mistake to do it again.” Mosseri said.
The goal is not to replace Twitter. The goal is to create a public square for Instagram communities that never adopted Twitter, and for communities on Twitter (and other platforms) that are interested in a less angry place for conversations, but not all of Twitter.
Still, it seems inevitable that politics and news will make it to Threads in some way, especially if politicians and journalists use the platform during the 2024 presidential election cycle. And Instagram is working on a feed just for the people you follow and a chronological flow, which, for me at least, should make Threads a much more useful place to find news. But it looks like Instagram isn’t going out of its way to make Threads what Twitter was, so don’t expect any kind of Thread-Deck.
Update July 7, 5:28 PM ET: Added more Mosseri context.