Facebook Set To Buy CrowdTangle, Social Data Tracker

Facebook will now be better at tracking links shared on its platform, as well as rival social networks.

That’s thanks to a new deal to acquire CrowdTangle -- a social data-tracking firm popular among publishers like Buzzfeed, the BBC, and Vox.  

During its five years as an independent startup, CrowdTangle has spent much of its time experimenting with Facebook's public API, and coming up with creative products that build on top of its social data.

Among other services, it helps publishers identify popular stories, measure social performance, and identify influencers.

Those offerings should now serve Facebook well as it continues to curry favor with publishers of news and other content.

Challenging those efforts, Facebook’s Instant Articles program is facing increasing competition from Apple News and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Indeed, the latter has already expanded beyond news into other categories, from query results to ecommerce to advertising.

In response, Facebook recently offered partner publishers access to several new ad options, including larger mobile display ads, and -- for those using the Facebook Audience Network -- video and carousel formats.

Previously, Facebook increased the number of ads allowed per each article, and began testing native call-to-action features in Instant Articles.

It also rolled out a new feature allowing users to send each other links to Instant Articles in its popular Messenger function.

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