Instagram’s Temporary Ban on Search Terms Like ‘COVID’: Explanation from Head of Platform

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Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, announced on the Threads platform that the current practice of blocking search terms like “COVID” will be temporary.

Threads is Meta’s newest social media platform, akin to the platform formerly known as Twitter, now referred to as X. Meta, which is also the parent company of Facebook, has faced criticism for allowing the spread of misinformation in the past.

The ban on specific search terms was introduced in July, but it’s uncertain when the restrictions will be lifted. The list of blocked terms includes explicit words, as well as controversial words and phrases like “coronavirus,” “long covid,” and “vaccines.” Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz, who originally reported on the bans, noted that users on Threads seemed particularly challenging compared to Twitter.

Mosseri acknowledged the concerns, expressing sympathy for Meta’s struggles with misinformation. He assured that the ban on certain words is temporary and that efforts are underway to address it, though he couldn’t provide a specific timeline. He emphasized that the team is working on multiple fronts and progress is being made, but there is still work to be done.

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Both Facebook and Twitter have faced criticism for their handling of misinformation, especially during critical events like elections and the pandemic. In response, they’ve implemented various measures to combat “misinformation’.

While Twitter rebranded and restructured under Elon Musk, Threads was initially portrayed as a safer alternative, with Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, describing it as a “friendly community.” Some even hailed Threads as a potential “Twitter killer” due to its rapid user base growth.

Zuckerberg criticized Twitter for its perceived negativity and toxicity, expressing his belief in creating a more positive discussion experience. He emphasized the importance of providing a platform where users don’t leave feeling consistently negative. This suggests that Threads aims to foster a more constructive and uplifting social media environment compared to its counterparts.

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