Meta Still Cannot Explain Which Posts Are ‘Political’

Oliver Darcy, in CNN’s Reliable Sources newsletter, asked Meta what it meant by “political” posts:

The Meta spokesperson, instead, offered this vague statement: “Informed by research, our definition of political content is content likely to be about topics related to government or elections; for example, posts about laws, elections, or social topics. These global issues are complex and dynamic, which means this definition will evolve as we continue to engage with the people and communities who use our platforms and external experts to refine our approach.”

The statement only raised more questions than answers. A lot can be categorized under the banner of “social topics.”

Even though Adam Mosseri said people will still see posts from users they follow regardless of whether they contain some undefinable “political” topics, I have seen plenty of questions about the likelihood of this ranking change affecting all “political” posts. It is a fair concern, especially since there is no way for Threads to default to showing only posts from people a user follows.

A timeline based on rankings and suggestions requires a great deal of trust — something which Meta lacks. Lacking a clear definition for what is being moderated differently does not help.