Threads now lets you control the amount of political content you see

You can opt to allow all political content on Meta's Threads or limit your exposure to posts and accounts considered political.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Threads app concept
Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images

With the 2024 US presidential election coming up, you can expect to see a lot more political posts on social networks, including Meta's Threads. Maybe you'd like to avoid those types of posts as much as possible or perhaps you want to dive head first into political discussions and debates. Either way, Threads now gives you more control over how much political content appears in your feed.

A new setting now rolling out to the Threads app for iOS and Android lets you determine how you want to deal with political content. There are two options: "Don't Limit" allows more political and social content in your feed, while "Limit" promises to show you less political or social content.

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To manage this setting in the Threads app, tap your profile icon in the lower right, select the globe icon in the upper left to get to the Privacy screen, and tap "Other privacy settings."

Threads app settings
screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

This takes you to a separate screen with settings that apply to both Threads and Instagram. Swipe down this screen to the section named "What you see" and tap the setting for "Content preferences." Next, tap the setting for "Political content" and choose either "Don't limit" or "Limit."

Threads app political content setting
screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

If you don't see the setting for "Political content," you may need to wait another day or two as it's still in the process of rolling out.

OK, fine. But depending on which option you choose, where and how would you even see political content on Threads?  

On one of its support pages, Meta explains: "On Threads, we also don't recommend political content from profiles you don't follow. You won't see political content in In-Feed Recommendations, Suggested Accounts, or Notifications. If you follow Threads profiles that post about these topics, you'll still see those posts in your Feed."

How does Threads determine what qualifies as political content? The support page lists three areas: 1) Governments, 2) Elections, and 3) Social topics. Threads and Instagram use AI to determine if an account or post deals with one of these areas. In the case of political content, the tech identifies whether a post is considered political but doesn't factor in any particular political opinion, according to the support page.

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Though the new setting does give you some control over political posts showing up, there are a couple of downsides.

First, there is no option to block political content entirely, so it seems you'll still get some even if you choose to limit it. Second, the option you choose applies to both Threads and Instagram; there's no way to control each platform separately. Still, at least the setting gives you some say in the matter, especially at a time when political discussions on social media so often turn into political arguments.

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