Journalists Are Flocking to Threads, the Hot New Social Media Outlet…That Will Not Promote Politics and News

AP Photo/Richard Drew

Well, we almost managed to go a few weeks without media figures on Twitter raving and raging about the newest social platform that will displace the hellscape that is Twitter. That is, the social site they cannot possibly find a way to actually leave. 


A month or so back many journos were proclaiming they were leaving for BlueSky, the new offering from former Twitter owner Jack Dorsey. They said this, while including a link to that lightly traveled portal, despite it being in the beta phase. This followed the hysteria seen last Fall, when Elon Musk took over Twitter and many a journalist went screaming for the hills, declaring they were leaving for Mastodon. 

Now the newest option has arrived, and for the moment it appears the lush alternative. Meta – the parent company of Facebook – recently launched Threads, which is such a close version of Twitter you can accurately describe it as a clone of that platform. Of course, this venture has the notable advantage of being tied in with Facebook and Instagram, so a measure of traction is to be expected. It has so far proven to be successful.

In the time frame of just a week, the new platform has taken on 100 million users, a staggering result. This past week we have seen a number of prominent Twitter users making declarations about leaving Twitter (something studies show rarely actually takes place) for the new digital pastures of Threads, but those in the media industry who are brashly announcing “I’ll take my keyboard and go home!” may not have thought this through, and the track records of their previous alternatives is just one factor.

AP/Reuters Feed Library

Mastodon has proven to be little more than a journalist coffee clatch. The content was mostly these media figures bitching about Twitter and Elon Musk, and after a surge in subscribers last October by the new year there was shrinkage experienced. BlueSky is still working itself out and is invite-only at this stage so exclusivity limits interest. Other alternatives touted in the past, from Telegram to Discord or Minds have been cited as landing spaces, but really all that has resulted was people having multiple social media accounts while maintaining – and mainly employing – their Twitter presence.


Another factor leading to looking at Threads skeptically is the track record of Meta/Facebook with co-opting other digital ventures. Over the years Zuckerberg has spearheaded his company essentially copying an existing platform, numerous times, and mostly it has led to those attempts fizzling out after some initial interest.

But the biggest obstacle to Threads becoming a viable competitor for the interest of journalists is something they seem to overlook. I frequently cover the lack of research these media figures conduct in their work, and it appears this is a characteristic also prevalent in their personal and social lives. Here we see these reporters and media minds racing to join what the consider a better alternative for their industry, but they miss out on a crucial detail – Mark Zuckerberg is limiting their very content on Threads.

Instagram lead Adam Mosseri said in two Threads posts Friday that the new app would not encourage “politics and hard news” on its platform, a far cry from the promoted political content found on its rival platform Twitter. Mosseri said in a Threads conversation that the new platform will inevitably contain politics and hard news, but that Threads is “not going to do anything to encourage those verticals,”—an approach adopted by Facebook in 2021.


Most media outlets have experienced varying degrees of loss of engagement as a result of that move by Facebook. Now journalists and others in the industry want to migrate to a social platform with the same level of squelching?

Well, have at it, media experts. You act intemperate because one platform has opened up discourse and you find it unseemly that regular mooks have more of a voice, so you race to pitch your tent on a new platform that will tamp down your own voice.

The unintended irony is, based on multiple polls, many people would actually prefer journalists to be heard less.


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