Meta's social media app, Threads, is facing criticism for temporarily blocking searches related to "coronavirus," "Covid," and other pandemic-related terms. This decision comes at a time when the United States is grappling with an increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations, as reported by the CDC, more than three years into the global pandemic.
According to a Meta spokesperson, the company recently introduced keyword search functionality for Threads in additional countries. However, this search function currently does not provide results for keywords associated with potentially sensitive content. The spokesperson added that people will be able to search for keywords like "COVID" in future updates once the company is confident in the quality of the results.
As of Monday, searches for terms such as "coronavirus," "Covid," and "Covid-19" on the Threads app yielded no results, displaying a blank page with the message "No results." Similarly, searches for "vaccine" also returned no results. Nonetheless, users typing these queries into the Threads app are directed to the CDC's website for information on Covid-19 or vaccinations, depending on the search.
Meta did not disclose which other keyword searches currently yield no results.
It's worth noting that Meta and its social media platforms, including Facebook, faced controversy early in the pandemic for the spread of Covid-19-related misinformation online.
While Threads gained significant attention with over 100 million sign-ups during its first week, it has faced some challenges since its launch in early July. Users have realized that the platform, despite its rapid growth, still lacks many features that made its predecessor, X (formerly known as Twitter), popular among users.
Although Threads recently introduced a web version and keyword search functionality, its current limitations in the search feature highlight the need for further development to fully replace the real-time search and engagement experience that users historically enjoyed with X.