Meta Adds An Opt-Out Setting That Limits 'Political Content' On Instagram And Threads

Meta politics

Politics revolves around the governance of societies, where individuals and groups compete to exercise power and influence over decisions that affect everyone.

It's the whirlwind of drama, power plays, and grand schemes. It's the realm full of cloak-and-dagger maneuvers, high-stakes debates, and more. It's more than just that, because politics also encompasses a wide array of topics, from economics and law to social justice and foreign affairs.

Politics is about shaping policies, negotiating compromises, and navigating the intricate web of relationships between different actors.

It's like a never-ending game of chess, with players vying for control, whether it's at the local, national, or international level.

This is why there is never a dull moment in the world of politics.

This is a good thing for those who love politics.

But for those who don't, seeing and hearing scandals and controversies, leaked memo, compromising photo, or juicy affair, aren't their thing.

Meta, considered the largest social media platforms of them all, owning both Facebook and Instagram, as well as the ubiquitous WhatsApp, and more.

Its executives have been saying for a while that they don’t want to boost posts about politics in their apps.

This time, the company has added an opt-out setting that limits recommendations of "political content" to Instagram and Threads.

Under users' 'Content preferences' account settings, users can see that 'Limit political content from people you don’t follow' is enabled by default.

Meta said that the setting as being good for user choice, and the company said that it isn’t limiting the reach of political content from accounts people choose to follow.

While the change was first announced in early February, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed that the company has began widely rolling out the feature to all users.

This feature is turned on by default, and is launched without much fanfare.

And that is for good reasons.

First, it's widely believed that most people on social media use social media for social interactions and fun, not for some serious things. Hearing some government leaders delivering their speech, or diplomatic issues between countries may not be everyone's favorites, for example.

Second, back in 2023, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri also said about the risks of having too much politics in users' feed.

Instagram politics

"Politics and hard news are important, I don’t want to imply otherwise," he said at the time.

"But my take is, from a platform’s perspective, any incremental engagement or revenue they might drive is not at all worth the scrutiny, negativity (let’s be honest), or integrity risks that come along with them."

In short, Meta is playing it safe.

It doesn't want experience issues from people who think that it's role is actively surfacing political content, which it defines as posts about "governments," "elections," and "social topics."

"If people still want to see this type of political content on Threads and Instagram recommendation surfaces, there will be a control for people to choose to see it. This control will also roll out on Facebook at a later date," said Instagram in a blog post.

"We’re always working to improve our recommendation systems and give people control so we can connect people with the most relevant posts to them. We’ll roll out these changes slowly over time to get this right."

But again, not everyone is happy.

A lot of users, mainly content creators and politicians, are outraged and are complaining about censorship and a limit on political discourse.

Some worried Instagram's definition of political content is so broad that "even posts that aren't 'political' could be brushed under the rug."