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Meta to shut off data access to journalists

Thought Leader: Sara Fischer
March 19, 2024
Source: AXIOS
Written by: Sara Fischer

Meta plans to officially shutter CrowdTangle, the analytics tool widely used by journalists and researchers to see what’s going viral on Facebook and Instagram, the company’s president of global affairs Nick Clegg told Axios in an interview.

Why it matters: The company plans to instead offer select researchers access to a set of new data tools, but news publishers, journalists or anyone with commercial interests will not be granted access to that data.

The big picture: The effort comes amid a broader pivot from Meta away from news and politics and more toward user-generated viral videos.

The new research tools include Meta’s Content Library, which it launched last year, and an API, or backend interface used by developers.

Zoom in: Clegg pointed to third-party social media analytics tools, such as Sprout Social and NewsWhip, as resources the journalism community can use to analyze what’s going viral in CrowdTangle’s absence.

Between the lines: CrowdTangle became the source of a heated internal debate at Meta over the company’s commitment to transparency following the 2020 election.

Zoom out: Facing increasing regulatory pressure, Meta has tried to be more transparent about how it handles content moderation, but some researchers have still argued that Meta could do better.

The bottom line: Clegg said he hopes people will see its new plans as “a very good faith effort,” which he hopes “will lead to a flurry of new and interesting research.”

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