State-backed news outlets join Meta’s Threads despite the lack of basic moderation features

Meta plans to add state-backed media labels in the future but faces challenges in addressing misinformation and retaining user engagement.

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State-backed news outlets like Russia’s RT and Sputnik News, China’s CGTN and Xinhua News, and Iran’s Fars News have joined Meta’s new microblogging service, Threads, and reportedly shared disinformation.

Initially launched before being fully developed, Threads lacks basic moderation features, including state-backed media labels. Despite this, these outlets have attracted over 270,000 followers since its launch.

Meta indicated that it plans to add such labels in the future. The company asserts that its hate speech policies and the use of misinformation ratings from independent fact-checkers apply to Threads and its other apps. They are also considering additional measures to address misinformation on Threads in upcoming updates.

Threads gained over 100 million sign-ups in the first week but faced declining user engagement. Meta is considering new features to attract users, possibly shifting to a chronological feed. Striking a balance between free expression and preventing misinformation is a critical challenge for the platform.

Why does it matter? Critics argue that more content moderation is needed to prevent misinformation from going viral. This becomes even more relevant when considering that media outlets can use the platform to push their political agendas, influence public opinion, and manipulate information.

Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, emphasises free expression but acknowledges efforts to combat misinformation and hate speech. It is important to highlight that ensuring a safe and informative environment will be crucial for keeping users engaged and maintaining the platform’s relevance.