Jonathan Stray, who researches recommendation algorithms at Berkeley Center for Human-Compatible AI, says this approach is consistent with other social media platforms. “Engagement, in various forms, is undoubtedly the primary signal used by content rankings for virtually every platform,” Stray explains in an email, noting that one of the few exceptions is site rankings. not personalized, like on Reddit.
So lingering on celebrity accounts, liking delicious food porn, or responding in comments to dog mom posts on Instagram will most likely influence the type of content that appears in your Threads feed. But just making a textual appeal to the faceless meta-gods (or algorithms) that run Threads won’t do the trick. So Dear Algorithm’s posts have all the energy of Twitter’s early #FollowFridays, which helped users find other cool people, or the gently desperate vibes of the copy-and-paste hoaxes that convinced Facebook users wouldn’t be not owners of their uploaded photos. if they just posted a copyright warning on their feeds. Of course, #FollowFridays actually worked; copying and pasting poorly written legalese demanding your rights from Facebook didn’t do it.
The Dear Algorithm trend also suggests that spam is starting to infiltrate Threads: While searching for these posts on Threads, WIRED observed over 100 rapid repetitions of the same list, shared by multiple accounts in a short period of time, all including the phrase ” Lover of Jesus” in the post. (This doesn’t mean Jesus is spam; just repetitive messages.) Meta said she was looking into the problem.
Some of the early visibility issues on Threads, which claims just under 100 million monthly active users, could be alleviated with the introduction of hashtags. On Wednesday, Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company was testing tagging on Threads in Australia. Once these are widely rolled out, tagging one of your interests in a Dear Algorithm post could make it easier for others to find and interact with said post. But Meta hasn’t said when tags will be supported on threads in other countries, and for now, users can only add one tag at a time to a Threads post.
“I always hope that Threads will bring in more people that I have things in common with,” says McCellon, the organizer who is trying to galvanize her community around local politics in Oklahoma. “I find that most people who follow me there already follow me on Instagram, but that’s not necessarily helpful if you’re trying to organize or build a new community.”
But, McCellon concedes, if Threads connects her with just one or two people who have a new perspective on local politics, “then the algorithm has done its job.”