Mark Zuckerberg’s stalled social media platform recently rolled out its search feature, but it currently blocks terms related to COVID-19 and vaccines.
A Washington Post investigation discovered the platform will present users with a blank screen and a pop-up link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website if they search for terms such as “covid” or “long covid”.
According to the Post’s experiments, words like “coronavirus,” “vaccines,” and “vaccination” are also blocked.
Threads’ parent company, Meta, issued a statement after the Post’s investigation went live.
“We just began rolling out keyword search for Threads to additional countries last week. The search functionality temporarily doesn’t provide results for keywords that may show potentially sensitive content,” a Meta spokesperson said in its statement.
“People will be able to search for keywords such as ‘COVID’ in future updates once we are confident in the quality of the results.”
The censorship comes as the media renews its obsession with the pandemic and the FDA approves the latest version of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC recently issued warnings to the public after data showed hospitalizations due to COVID starting to tick up again with the end of summer, blaming the rise of a new, highly-mutated variant.
As such, public health care officials criticized Meta’s decision to block related terms.
World Health Network Outreach Director Julia Doubleday said social media is vital to patients who may be searching for information about their recently diagnosed illnesses.
“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,” Doubleday said. “It’s indefensible.”
Assessments have also confirmed myocarditis as a recognized complication of mRNA vaccines, especially among young men, which the FDA has again approved for use this fall.