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Threads Tests Recent Search Filter To Provide More Timely Results

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This is interesting.

Meta has confirmed that it’s testing a new Search sorting option on Threads, which will enable users to display search results in the app by Recent, so you can keep up with evolving discussions.

Threads recent

As you can see in this example, posted by user Daniel Rodriguez, some users are now seeing a secondary sorting option for search results in the app, which will list relevant posts in chronological order.

Well, in more chronological order at least. According to Rodriguez, the results aren’t exactly chronological, but by switching to the Recent feed, you do get to see more recent posts, as opposed to the usual, algorithm-defined “Top” feed.

Instagram/Threads chief Adam Mosseri has confirmed that this is in live testing “with a small number of people” at present.

Which is a good update, and an important one as well, considering that most Threads users are looking for a Twitter alternative, and Meta, thus far, has been resistant to providing exactly that.

Meta’s already announced that Threads will not prioritize news and political content, in order to avoid divisive, angst-ridden engagement, while it’s also limiting the use of topic tags to restrict spammers and scammers from flooding popular topics.

Mosseri has also noted that Threads is not looking to add a straight up chronological search option, as spammers and other bad actors [will] pummel the view with content by simply adding the relevant words or tags.”

This is all part of Meta’s broader effort to make Threads a more positive user experience than what Twitter was, and what X now is. By eliminating some of these vectors, Meta’s hoping that it can facilitate a more entertainment-focused environment, which is what its data shows people engage with more on Facebook and Instagram, with Reels, in particular, now driving the most growth in its apps.

Essentially, Meta’s looking for a way to shift away from news and political discussion, which has caused the company more headaches than it’s worth. Instead, Meta’s seeking to weed out some of these negative elements, but in doing so, it also limits Threads’ capacity to provide a comparative experience to Twitter, which may ultimately impede Threads’ growth.

Because right now, X remains the best place to go to get up-to-the-minute updates on the latest world news events. That includes sports and music festivals, product launches and political announcements. If you want to get the latest, raw reporting on such, X is still more effective than Threads, which is why many embedded X communities, particularly around sports, haven’t even considered migrating across the Threads as yet.

Maybe, with a Recent sorting option, that’ll change things. But again, if it’s not a full feed of the latest updates on a topic, it’s not the same thing, and I’m not sure that it’ll be enough of a lure to get more users across.

Really, it seems like Threads will eventually need to provide full insight into live events, as they happen, without restriction. Maybe that’s the longer term plan, and Threads is using experiments like this to help it construct algorithms to limit misuse, but the resistance to political content stands out as a significant roadblock in this respect.

Then again, maybe Meta knows something that we don’t, and Threads actually will win out as a result.

You can already see that X is going to play a role in spreading misinformation during the upcoming U.S. election campaign, and that the company will eventually be investigated, and potentially penalized, as a result.

Maybe, given its broader woes, that’ll be the nail in the coffin for the former bird app. And then, even with its restrictions, Threads will win out either way, while Meta will also benefit from actively stepping back from politics, and limiting amplification of such in its apps.

That could be the longer-term game plan, and with X still struggling to make money, that does seem like a viable future vision.     

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