Meta is giving researchers more access to Facebook and Instagram data

Article by Tate Ryan-Mosley: “Meta is releasing a new transparency product called the Meta Content Library and API, according to an announcement from the company today. The new tools will allow select researchers to access publicly available data on Facebook and Instagram in an effort to give a more overarching view of what’s happening on the platforms. 

The move comes as social media companies are facing public and regulatory pressure to increase transparency about how their products—specifically recommendation algorithms—work and what impact they have. Academic researchers have long been calling for better access to data from social media platforms, including Meta. This new library is a step toward increased visibility about what is happening on its platforms and the effect that Meta’s products have on online conversations, politics, and society at large. 

In an interview, Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said the tools “are really quite important” in that they provide, in a lot of ways, “the most comprehensive access to publicly available content across Facebook and Instagram of anything that we’ve built to date.” The Content Library will also help the company meet new regulatory requirements and obligations on data sharing and transparency, as the company notes in a blog post Tuesday

The library and associated API were first released as a beta version several months ago and allow researchers to access near-real-time data about pages, posts, groups, and events on Facebook and creator and business accounts on Instagram, as well as the associated numbers of reactions, shares, comments, and post view counts. While all this data is publicly available—as in, anyone can see public posts, reactions, and comments on Facebook—the new library makes it easier for researchers to search and analyze this content at scale…(More)”.