Tuesday 11 July 2023

New app, same old story: Meta’s Threads accused of mass censorship and data harvesting

 Meta, formerly known as Facebook, launched its newest "Twitter killer" app called Threads on Thursday, July 6. The launch, however, was immediately marred by accusations of mass censorship as users discovered their posts being flagged or removed within minutes of publication.

Threads, designed to rival the popular microblogging site Twitter, aimed to provide users with a "free and open platform," but these incidents of censorship show otherwise. As soon as Threads went live, conservative users were quick to point out the irony of their claims.  

"Right away, there were users that showed that they have been censored," reported Fox News Digital reporter Michael Schellenberger. "When I tried to follow those people, I found out they indeed had been censored. This is secretive censorship, and there is no right of appeal. There is no way for anyone who is being censored on those platforms to make their case and try to get off the blacklists."

Schellenberger emphasized that free speech should be protected for everyone, regardless of their opinions. "I myself don't agree with [Mark Zuckerberg] on everything, but the whole point of free speech is that it's for everybody, not just the people we agree with," he stated.

Multiple reports flooded social media and forums, claiming that their posts were being unjustly censored and removed without any apparent violation of community guidelines. Many users expressed their frustration and disappointment as they felt betrayed.

Users shared screenshots and personal accounts of their experiences, showcasing instances where harmless opinions and critical discussions were seemingly targeted for removal. The accusations ranged from political biases to arbitrary content suppression.

For instance, a self-described "anti-woke" lawyer, @DC_Draino, took to Twitter to express his frustration with the Threads app.

"Just downloaded and signed up for the new Meta app 'Threads' meant to imitate Twitter. I posted once about wanting to expose Biden's corrupt government, and they've already flagged me for censorship. Great platform, Zuck," the lawyer tweeted.

Meta can monetize all sensitive information on Threads and Instagram

Amid the wave of criticism after launching Threads, conservative users who find dissatisfaction in using the app discovered that leaving the platform entails deleting their Instagram account.

Upon joining Threads, users find themselves locked into the platform, unable to reverse the signup process. This means that leaving Threads also means the deletion of a user's Instagram account.

While users can "deactivate" their profile on Threads, the associated data remains stored on Meta's servers and linked to their Instagram account. In addition, users can delete their individual posts one by one, a tedious process familiar to users of most social networks.

However, a supplemental privacy policy published in Threads warns that true deletion is only possible by eliminating all Instagram data, as the Threads profile is an integral part of the Instagram account. This requirement has drawn more backlash from users, raising concerns about their ability to maintain control over their personal data.

According to multiple sources, Threads has the capability to gather up to 14 different types of data, including sensitive personal information, which Meta then employs for targeted advertising. This revelation has only added fuel to the fire of those who have long criticized the social media giant's approach to user privacy.

Schellenberger warned that Threads possesses "near-zero privacy" and argued that Congress should take action either by breaking up Meta or mandating greater transparency as a prerequisite for the company's Section 230 protections. He emphasized that Zuckerberg's purported denial of any intention to monetize Threads users is simply a deception, claiming that Meta's true business model lies in selling user data to advertisers.

"By joining Threads, users are putting sensitive information about themselves, including their location data, browsing history, financial info and purchase information, among others, in Meta's hands," said one report. "The app does not have ads yet, but Meta is bound to use the collected information for targeted advertising later. Meta may not even need more information as it already knows enough through Facebook and Instagram."

Post a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search