Meta To Sunset Content-Monitoring Tool, Restrict Access To Reporters

Meta announced this week that it will be shutting down CrowdTangle, a data insights tool often used by academics, researchers and journalists to track conspiracy theories and viral content on Facebook and Instagram.

The company plans to replace CrowdTangle with Meta Content Library, a new tool only available to academic and nonprofit researchers, not for-profit news outlets.

“Our data-sharing products are evolving alongside technology and regulatory changes,” Meta said in a statement. “Phasing out CrowdTangle will allow us to focus resources on our new research tools, Meta Content Library & Content Library API.”

According to the company, Meta Content Library is the result of new data-sharing and transparency regulatory requirements posed by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act.

The Library includes new features like data on public comments and searching content based on views, but lacks geography-based activity data and the ability to download data from public posts, according to a report by Engadget.



Meta Content Library will officially replace CrowdTangle when it shuts down in August, but will only be accessible by academics and researchers.

Journalists working for profit who have been using CrowdTangle to monitor page posts, check on analytics, and track the influx of fake news and conspiracy theories, will need to rely on Insights within Meta Business Suite instead, with the option to use third-party social-listening tools to replicate the info.

CrowdTangle's former co-founder and CEO Brandon Silverman criticized Meta's decision on Thursday, writing in a blog post that shutting down the tool so close to the U.S. Presidential election was “incredibly irresponsible,” adding that he hopes the tool’s legacy will “inspire a permanent set of regulations that make real-time access to public data a legal requirement and an ongoing part of how we manage the internet responsibly & collaboratively.”

While this change will likely reduce the overall research capacity surrounding Meta's family of apps, CrowdTangle was widely criticized for being unreliable.

In 2021, the tool became a point of contention within the social giant due to concerns that it was providing unreliable and misleading data after it suggested that Meta's apps were spreading divisive political content.

In response to the negative press coverage, Facebook disbanded the CrowdTangle team.

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