Zuckerberg’s Threads Goes After COVID: New Platform, Same Censorship

September 13th, 2023 6:30 PM

Meta, parent company to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Threads, has once again implemented a filter that censors certain terms related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Threads, Meta’s text based program designed to rival Twitter, is blocking specific words related to COVID-19 and vaccines on its recently updated search engine. 

The Washington Post reported Monday that Threads users who searched “covid” or “long covid” were redirected to a blank screen and a pop-up link to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Threads also blocked words such as “sex,” “nude,” “gore,” “porn,” “coronavirus,” “vaccines” and “vaccination” from its search engine, according to The Post

Meta’s defense of its new policy is makes it clear that the company has learned nothing from its failed censorship policies in the past. 

“The search functionality temporarily doesn’t provide results for keywords that may show potentially sensitive content,” Meta told The Post, adding that the company will not add the terms back to the search engine until they “are confident in the quality of the results.” In other words, Meta will once again hold itself out to be the arbiter of truth.

Even a health group said the new policy is a bad idea.

Julia Doubleday, the outreach director at the World Health Network, called the policy change “indefensible” and alleged the censorship will endanger lives.

“Social media is a lifeline for patients, literally,” she said. “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. It’s indefensible.”

MRC Free Speech America has documented the COVID-19 censorship from the beginning. A 2022 study found over 800 total cases of COVID-19 censorship from platforms like Facebook, Instagram, between March 17, 2020, and Feb. 3, 2022.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.