Imagine a technology that, once it has achieved a certain amount of momentum in growth and advancement, becomes sentient and no longer tethered to the commands of its human creators — even acting in ways that those human creators believe will harm them.
No, not “unaligned” artificial general intelligence, the figurative boogeyman of the OpenAI board. (In the fullest sense of the word “figurative.” The chief scientist reportedly burned a wooden effigy of “unaligned AGI” at a corporate retreat).
I’m talking about Threads, which over the weekend actually became a useful place for news — despite the apparent wishes of Meta executives.
Not long after Threads launched this summer, Instagram head Adam Mosseri posted that he doesn’t plan on leaning into “news” on the Threads platform:
Politics and hard news are inevitably going to show up on Threads — they have on Instagram as well to some extent — but we’re not going to do anything to encourage those verticals.
Then, the biggest recent breaking news story in tech and business unfolded over the weekend with Sam Altman’s shocking exit from OpenAI.
It was the perfect test to see if Threads was up for a breaking news event. It passed.
X, formerly known as Twitter, still won as the more crucial platform.
X is where Altman and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made official announcements, and where other tech leaders posted in support of Altman. (When’s the last time you were aware Marissa Mayer had an active Twitter presence?!)
It also was the place where OpenAI rank-and-file employees posted their allegiance to Altman with heart emojis.
Realtime reporting also still happened on X.
Veteran tech journalist Kara Swisher posted her scoops about the potential reasons for Altman’s ouster, and the ongoing drama, directly to X.
She also posted the same stuff to Threads, but as she pointed out — ironically — Threads doesn’t “thread” posts properly, making a continuing story confusing to follow.
This led to a situation where people like me, who wanted to know the latest developments, continually were switching back-and-forth between the two apps (and to Business Insider’s app!) on my phone all weekend.
As all this was unfolding, X was facing an unrelated crisis after Elon Musk had replied to a tweet that contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory. He called it “the actual truth.” Meanwhile, big advertisers like Disney and Apple are pulling out of X.
For some people, this week was a final straw to leave X.
I’ll be posting over at threads for anyone interested. Follow me at steve_liesman. Thank you for following me here over the years.
— Steve Liesman (@steveliesman) November 20, 2023
So if ever there were ever a time for a new platform to rise to the challenge of being able to serve people information about a breaking news event, this was Threads’ moment.
To be fair, this was a very specific kind of breaking news story: It wasn’t like a mass shooting, a natural disaster, or a war where there’s a high risk of coordinated misinformation, terrible graphic imagery, or spikes in race- or gender-based harassment. This was news about a CEO moving from one company to another — the kind of “safe” news that Meta probably is happy to service on its platform.
Threads wasn’t perfect. At the top of my timeline, I still see posts about OpenAI from a day ago (which might as well be a lifetime ago).
But for people who were looking for somewhere to catch up with, and talk about, the news, the bar is pretty low these days — and Threads is up to the task.
The post Turns out, Meta’s Threads is good for breaking news appeared first on Business Insider.