Meta’s fresh social media venture, Threads, faces intensifying spam attacks imposing tighter rate restrictions. Simultaneously, GOP lawmakers are scrutinizing the platform for potential censorship issues as part of the ceaseless contest between big tech and conservative voices.
Threads, intended to bring down rival platform Twitter, has had a less than stellar reception around the social media world. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, reported that the platform has to toughen its rate limits. This problem recently hit Twitter due to ongoing spam attacks. Yet, users like Taylor Lorenz, known for her opposition to conservative Twitter accounts, including Libs of TikTok, are already facing the prospects of a permanent Instagram ban due to two “strikes” on Threads, indicating turbulence in the platform’s early days.
Threads, the “Twitter killer” app, just announced they’re introducing rate limits.
This comes just a few weeks after the outcry from the mainstream media when they declared Elon is destroying Twitter because he implemented rate limits.
I’m sure the media will be all over this! pic.twitter.com/EVxSvMExdi
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) July 17, 2023
Another immediate issue Threads must address is the expanding investigation by the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee into potential free speech violations by Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Threads and Instagram. They express particular concern over “censorship by proxy,” a maneuver where private entities like Meta are allegedly pushed or colluded with to quell certain speech forms at the government’s behest, effectively circumventing the protections afforded every American by the First Amendment.
Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) underscores his concerns in a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “Given that Meta has censored First Amendment-protected speech due to government agencies’ requests and demands in the past, the Committee is concerned about potential First Amendment violations that have occurred or will occur on the Threads platform,” Jordan warns.
The Ohio Congressman is even considering the possibility of holding Zuckerberg in contempt of Congress, citing the insufficient documentation Meta has provided under the committee’s original subpoena.
— Millennial Conservative ™️ (@Milennial_con) July 18, 2023
However, Meta’s response paints a different picture. A company spokesperson conveyed to FOX Business that they’ve shared over 50,000 pages of documents in response to the committee’s request and availed nearly a dozen current and former employees for dialogue. While Meta has supplied the committee with documents and responses, none reportedly include the specific internal communications Jordan seeks.
Jordan’s anxiety grows as Threads’ moderation practices stir further scrutiny. The platform has already seen significant reports of conservative censorship.
Jordan referenced a Wall Street Journal article alleging that Biden’s Federal Trade Commission pressured Twitter to divulge internal communications about Musk and identify journalists with access to the company’s records. Such maneuvers imply an overreach by the federal government and reveal the potential for technology to be used as a tool of political manipulation.