Meta to shut off data access to journalists

Article 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.

  • Meta acquired CrowdTangle in 2016 at a time when publishers were heavily reliant on the tech giant for traffic.
  • In recent years, it’s stopped investing in the tool, making it less reliable.

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

  • Both tools offer researchers access to huge swaths of data from publicly accessible content across Facebook and Instagram.
  • The tools are available in 180 languages and offer global data.
  • Researchers must apply for access to those tools through the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan, which will vet their requests…(More)”