Meta’s New Feature Limits Political Content

With a sharp increase in political content and posts revolving around social issues, Meta introduced a new feature to its social media platforms Instagram and Threads in March that filters political content for its users. 

The new feature automatically limits the political content available for users to see on their feeds. Users have the option to turn this feature off by going to their settings, “content preferences,” “political content,” and then choosing “Don’t limit political content from people you don’t follow.”

Meta says that this feature will not affect how users see content from people that they already follow, rather these limitations will apply to public accounts in places where content is recommended to users, such as the explore page, reels, and in-feed recommendations. A report from the Pew Research Center says that 84% of people surveyed believe that access to the internet and social media has made the public easy to manipulate with false information and rumors, and 65% think that it makes people more divided in their political opinions. While this new Meta feature may be attempting to remedy these drawbacks, it also comes with negative consequences. Michigan State University American politics professor Meghan Wilson thinks that this new feature should not exist.

Book Vending Machines Arrive in East Lansing Schools

Book vending machines are making their way to East Lansing schools, thanks to a new program by the Kiwanis Club of East Lansing. The Book Vending Machine Project was kicked off with the installation of the first book vending machine at Donley Elementary School on March 5, with the unveiling taking place a day later. 

Students can be awarded tokens throughout the school year for things like good behavior or birthdays to get a book from the vending machine. These books are for the students to keep, in the hopes that they will begin to grow their own personal home libraries. 

“We began to realize that, you know, kids today are really more into their laptops and their phones and their computers,” Diane Tubbs, Kiwanis Club of East Lansing Vice President, said. “We figured with the book vending machine… it would affect every student that would get a book in the school, not just one group of students. Because literacy in Michigan is kind of in a turmoil.”

Many schools throughout the United States have turned to book vending machines as a fun and engaging way to increase literacy among students.

Lansing City Council Passes Ceasefire Resolution

The Lansing City Council unanimously approved a resolution in support of a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel on Feb. 12. Councilmembers voted on the resolution without discussion, following a reading of the document, which was drafted by Lansing’s Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. 

Following the 7-0 vote was more than an hour of public comment from over 40 individuals. The outpour of passion from the community put the meeting room at full capacity, forcing several people to watch the decision from a separate location in City Hall. “At first I didn’t really support it because I didn’t see that war in Gaza was City of Lansing business, but after hearing from so many residents, who convinced me otherwise, I thought it was the best thing to do to support it because too many people are dying and what’s happening over there is horrific,” Councilmember Brian Jackson said. 

Jackson explained that residents tried to voice their support for a ceasefire resolution at Congressional levels, but they were not heard.

MSU Community Remains Torn Over Berkey Hall Opening

Berkey Hall, a location on Michigan State University’s campus that had remained closed for two semesters after the mass shooting on Feb. 13, has been reopened for classes during the 2024 spring semester. 

This decision was immediately met with mixed reactions from students, faculty and community members. Emotions are still high weeks into the semester, especially as the one year anniversary of the shooting draws near. 

While no classes will be held in the room where two MSU students were shot and killed, the building itself still holds tragic memories for many. Journalism sophomore Cassidy Howard organized a protest on Jan. 8, where students gathered outside the Hannah Administration Building to oppose the opening of Berkey Hall. 

“After talking to classmates, after talking to friends, I realized just how much other people were, and are, struggling with the reopening of Berkey,” Howard said.