OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
3:50 PM – Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Threads, a new text-based social media platform created by Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has blocked keywords with “potentially sensitive” topics, including those related to COVID-19 vaccines.
On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Meta rolled out its revamped search engine, only for users to see a blank screen and a pop-up linking to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website when they search for terms related to “coronavirus”, “COVID”, and other pandemic-related keywords.
“We just began rolling out keyword search for Threads to additional countries last week,” a Meta spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement. “The search functionality temporarily doesn’t provide results for keywords that may show potentially sensitive content. People will be able to search for keywords such as ‘COVID’ in future updates once we are confident in the quality of the results.”
The company confirmed it was blocking searches in the statement, calling it a “temporary” measure.
Additionally, words such as “sex,” “nude,” “gore,” “porn,” “coronavirus,” “vaccines” and “vaccination” have been blocked on the social media platform’s search engine, according to the Post.
Public health professionals, including World Health Network Outreach Director Julia Doubleday, have criticized Meta’s decision to prohibit COVID-related searches. They believe that social media is crucial for patients who are searching for more information about their recent virus diagnosis.
“Long COVID patients have died of organ failure, infections, cardiac events and more, and social media is one place they can share information. Cutting off communication between suffering and disabled patients is cruel in the extreme,” Doubleday stated. “It’s indefensible.”
Meta officially launched Threads in early July and quickly collected over 100 million sign-ups in its first week. However, users recognized that the platform lacked many of the features that made X, formerly known as Twitter, successful with users.
Additionally, the rapid development and release of Threads, which only took five months to build, may have contributed to these initial discrepancies. Despite being a work in progress, the app was created in response to Musk’s takeover of X, formerly known as Twitter.
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