Will the Threads app really be the ‘friendly’ place Meta says it will?

Threads app - Person smiling using phone

As millions of users continue to download the application, it is unclear what shape it will take.

Mark Zuckerberg has given his official pitch of Meta’s new Threads app – the company’s alternative to Twitter – promising that it will be a “friendly” place users can enjoy for public online discourse.

This markets the application as a distinctly different experience from its rival Twitter.

Twitter, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, has earned a reputation as a place where anger is heavy, and arguments and trolling are a regular occurrence. If Zuckerberg is correct about the way the Threads app will be used, it is intended for a similar shape but in a distinctly different mood.

Threads app - Person using social media and getting positive reactions

“We are definitely focusing on kindness and making this a friendly place,” said Zuckerberg, shortly after the launch of the service.

That said, maintaining that upbeat vision, even after 70 million people joined in the first two days and over 100 million people had downloaded by the close of its first weekend.

Threads app users are meant to expect to be held to the same rules as the other Meta-owned platforms.

Users of the new platform will be held to the same rules that are in place on Facebook and Instagram. Those apps have had their algorithms tweaked to provide users with more of an entertainment-based experience, with less of a focus on news, which had traditionally been a central focus for users, particularly on Facebook.

That said, by linking the new application with other social media services like Mastodon, Meta is setting itself up for new challenges as top microblogging users tend to be those highly interested in news, politicians, and people who enjoy rhetorical battles. Meta may soon find itself trying to navigate uncharted microblogging waters.

To begin with, it has already said that it will not be extending its fact-checking program to the Threads app. This was announced by Christine Pai, a spokesperson for the company. This removes a central component of how Meta has been attempting misinformation management on its other platforms. Pai also pointed out that if a post has been rated as false on Instagram or Facebook by fact-checking partners, such as a Reuters unit, then that label will still be carried over to the same post on Threads.

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