Threads ‘Temporarily’ Blocking Covid-Related Search Terms

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Threads search is blocking terms like “Covid,” “vaccines,” “long Covid,” and others, but it is reportedly only temporary according to Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri. This comes a week after he said the app would not “amplify news.”

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When Thread users input Covid-related search terms for news articles or other information, the platform blocks any information from pulling up, barring a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The Washington Post first reported on the move back in September, and Threads’ parent company, Meta, acknowledged that it is intentionally blocking the search terms.

“The search functionality temporarily doesn’t provide results for keywords that may show potentially sensitive content,” the company said in a statement to the outlet. It added that search functionality would only be applied “once we are confident in the quality of the results.”

Mosseri posted on Threads Monday that the company doesn’t have a timeline for when it will reverse the block but says the move is temporary and being worked on. He pointed to the war in Israel and Gaza, saying responsibly managing that content takes precedence and is “the biggest safety focus right now.” It could take weeks or months to reverse the block, according to Mosseri.

Mosseri said the company is now getting pulled in too many directions to focus on the search issues and they’re mainly looking at ensuring the app continues to grow as well as “working on deeper integrations into Instagram and Facebook, graph building, EU compliance,” and “Fediverse support.”

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Threads entered the fray as an alternative to X, formerly called Twitter, back in July. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg promoted Threads as going back to the basics saying, “The vision for Threads is to create an option and friendly public space for conversation.”

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