what consequences after the removal of CrowdTangle by Meta? – The Express

what consequences after the removal of CrowdTangle by Meta –

This year, from Mexico to Venezuela to India, no less than 76 countries around the world are holding an election. And yet, it is the year 2024 that the Meta group has chosen to announce the deletion of its disinformation analysis software, CrowdTangle. The latter will be decommissioned after August 14, announces the social media giant – three months before the American presidential election.

For years, and particularly during previous electoral cycles, CrowdTangle has allowed its users to follow in real time the spread of conspiracy theories, incitements to violence or manipulation campaigns led from abroad. Already, in 2019, during the Louisiana elections, the software made it possible to detect incorrect opening times of polling stations which were circulating on the networks.

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Then, in 2020, Facebook offered the tool to U.S. election officials in every state to help them “quickly identify misinformation, interference and voter suppression.” The following year, as Donald Trump cried election fraud, the software identified a wave of conspiratorial messages just before the invasion of the Capitol.

Reduce transparency

CrowdTangle, which Meta acquired in 2016, additionally offers the public dashboards to track what major candidates post on their official and campaign pages. The removal of the tool is part, according to experts, of the current trend of large digital platforms to reduce transparency. “The abandonment of CrowdTangle […] undermines the fundamental principle of transparency”, and constitutes a “direct threat” to the integrity of the elections, indicate around ten observers and researchers in a letter.

And, during the elections, “removing access to CrowdTangle will significantly limit independent monitoring of the damage” caused by disinformation, Melanie Smith, research director of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, told AFP.

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Furthermore, the decision by the parent company of Facebook and Instagram comes after numerous journalists used CrowdTangle to report information that was unflattering for the company, particularly regarding its difficulties in moderating content on its platforms. forms and on the abundance of pirated games present on its video game application. Thus, CrowdTangle made it possible to “hold Meta responsible for applying its own rules,” underlines Tim Harper, political analyst at the Center for Democracy & Technology.

A new content library

As a replacement, Meta announced the creation of a new content library which will contain, according to the group’s spokesperson, Andy Stone, “more comprehensive data than CrowdTangle” and which will be made available to academics and non-profit electoral organizations.

But, unlike the previous software, this new library will not be made available to for-profit media. It also won’t have the same features, point out researchers, including former CrowdTangle CEO Brandon Silverman. The latter notes that the new tool is still under development: “This is a completely new technology that Meta still needs to build to protect the integrity of elections.” The countdown begins.