Meta shuts monitoring tool during a significant election year

CrowdTangle, a digital tool deemed critical in tracking viral falsehoods, is set to be deactivated by Facebook owner Meta during a significant election year, which academics fear would hinder efforts to identify an expected flood of political misinformation.

CrowdTangle will be unavailable after August 14, less than three months before the US election, according to the software giant.

The Palo Alto corporation intends to replace it with a new tool that, according to researchers, lacks the same capability and will be inaccessible to most news organizations.

CrowdTangle has been a game changer for years, providing researchers and journalists with critical real-time insight on the spread of conspiracy theories and hate speech on key Meta-owned platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

The removal of the monitoring tool, which experts say is consistent with a tech industry trend of reducing transparency and security safeguards, is a huge blow as dozens of nations face elections this year – a time when bad actors are more likely to promote false narratives.

Direct Threat from Monitoring Tool

CrowdTangle, according to academics, has detected negative behaviors such as foreign intervention, internet harassment, and encouragement to violence in recent election cycles.

Meta, which purchased CrowdTangle in 2016, admitted that the program assisted state officials in identifying falsehoods, such as erroneous poll hours posted online, during the 2019 Louisiana elections.

Concern related to Meta

Meta, which has been shifting away from news on its many platforms, would not make the new tool available to for-profit media.

Journalists have previously utilized CrowdTangle to examine public health emergencies, human rights violations, and natural disasters.

Source: CNBC

Meta’s move to block journalists came after several of them utilized CrowdTangle to publish negative articles about the company, such as its failing moderation attempts and how its gaming app was inundated with pirated content.

, , , , ,