Despite going live only 36 hours ago, everybody seems to have a million things to say about Threads, Meta’s alternative app to Twitter. Today I’d like to focus specifically on what it means for global news. In a nutshell, many are saying it isn’t positive…

The thing about the Threads is that its algorithm is predetermined seeing that our accounts are linked to our Instagram profiles. Everytime we open the app we are likely to see worded content that strikes a chord with our tastes, political stance and interests. You can’t (yet) manually limit your Threads to people you want to follow. Meta is using its vast machine-learning knowledge to predict what discussions will be the most engaging to you—the direction in which it has been taking Instagram too. 

Threads is already addictive at less than two days old.  

This wasn’t the case for Twitter. With more of a focus on whom you follow, people used it as a news reader by following select news accounts and keeping up with their tweets. In swinging so hard to algorithmically recommended content, Meta is dropping that utility and turning Threads into a way for interesting (read: funny, provocative) conversations with friends. 

What does this mean exactly? Well, the bar for capturing attention just got even higher. News isn’t the focus but witty wording. This new form of social media has moved so far beyond news. With the algorithm in charge, users are signing up to these platforms for entertainment. Instagram is no boon to the news business, and Threads won’t be either.

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