Recently, Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Threads, introduced a new opt-out setting that limits recommendations of “political content” on these platforms. This setting, located under the “Content preferences” section of your account settings in Instagram, is enabled by default.

Meta has stated that this new setting is all about giving users more choice over the content they see in their feeds. The company claims that it is not restricting the reach of political content from accounts that users actively choose to follow. However, some have questioned whether this move is more about protecting Meta from potential backlash related to political content.

According to Meta spokesperson Andy Stone, the decision to limit political content recommendations was made in response to a growing sentiment within the company that most users do not want to see political posts in their feeds. Instagram boss Adam Mosseri has also voiced concerns about the risks associated with promoting political content on the platform, citing potential negative outcomes and integrity issues.

Meta defines political content as posts related to “governments,” “elections,” and “social topics,” but the term remains somewhat ambiguous. This ambiguity allows Meta to have flexibility in determining what falls under the category of political content and what does not. Users who prefer not to have Meta dictate their content recommendations now have the option to adjust their settings accordingly.

While the new setting was first announced in February, it has only recently started rolling out widely across Instagram and Threads. Surprisingly, Meta has not sent any in-app notifications to users informing them about this setting or its default status. This lack of transparency raises questions about Meta’s approach to implementing changes that impact user experience.

In a nutshell, Meta’s decision to introduce an opt-out setting for limiting political content on Instagram and Threads reflects a broader shift in the company’s stance on recommending political posts. While the move is framed as a gesture towards user choice, it also underscores Meta’s concerns about the repercussions of actively promoting political content. Users who value transparency and control over their feed may want to take a closer look at their settings to ensure they are comfortable with the content being recommended to them.


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