In the battle against X, Threads gets trending topics where politics will be allowed

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After acknowledging last week that Threads, Meta’s competitor actively recommend political content, the company today announced testing of a new trending feature, “Topics,” where such content could potentially appear anyway. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta announcement On Monday, Threads would begin a small test of the feature, initially in the United States, to help users find “hot topics” that others are discussing on the social network.

Today’s topics, as the section will be titled, are determined by Meta’s AI systems and are based on what people interact with on Threads, Meta told TechCrunch. These topics will appear in the app in two places: on the search page and in the For You feed.

The machine learning algorithm will take into account a variety of signals, including how many people are talking about a given topic and how many people have participated in posts on that same topic. Meta says its team of content specialists will ensure that topics do not violate the site’s community guidelines and “other applicable integrity guidelines.” He also said that the Meta team would verify that there are no duplicate topics and that the topics presented are not “absurd or misleading.”

Additionally, users will be able to report potentially problematic content in the event that a topic violates guidelines but is not immediately detected by site moderators.

Of course, what we wanted to know was whether or not Meta would remove political content in topics, given that it had proclaimed last week that it would no longer recommend political content on recommendation surfaces on Instagram and Threads. This change affects areas such as Instagram Reels and Instagram Explore, as well as In-Feed Recommendations on Instagram and Threads, the company explained at the time.

Meta tells us, however, that she will not remove political topics.

“Political content can be a topic,” a Meta representative said. “We will only remove political topics if they violate our community guidelines or other applicable integrity policies. Today’s topics are intended to reflect current and relevant topics within the app and are not personalized recommendations,” they explained.

In other words, because topics are determined by algorithms, but are not individualized to end users, they are not swept up in the purge of political content from Threads’ recommendations.

This feature could make Threads more competitive with its rival real time – which was what he lacked. It remains to be seen how much human oversight will be directed toward the topics section, which Meta could either handle entirely or largely leave to an algorithm.

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