Meta Announces Shutdown of Its CrowdTangle Monitoring App

After years of speculation that it was looking to shut down its platform monitoring tool CrowdTangle, Meta has now confirmed that CrowdTangle is, in fact, going away, as of August 14th.

As per Meta:

Our data-sharing products are evolving alongside technology and regulatory changes. Phasing out CrowdTangle will allow us to focus resources on our new research tools, Meta Content Library & Content Library API, which provide useful, high-quality data to researchers. Meta Content Library was designed to help us meet new regulatory requirements for data-sharing and transparency while meeting Meta’s rigorous privacy and security standards.”

CrowdTangle became a point of contention within Meta back in 2021, due to concerns that the tool was providing misleading data about the role that Meta’s apps play in spreading divisive political content.

For several years, a bot account on X (formerly Twitter), created by New York Times journalist Kevin Roose, highlighted the most popular Facebook posts every day, based on listings supplied by Meta via its CrowdTangle platform.

The listings were regularly dominated by right-wing spokespeople and Pages, which gave the impression that Facebook amplifies this type of content via its algorithms.

Facebook was less than pleased with this characterization, so in response, it disbanded the CrowdTangle team in July 2021 after a dispute over what content the app should display.

Most expected that would be the end of the CrowdTangle project, but it continued on, providing data insights to users, including Roose’s bot (until June last year when X changed its rules around API and bot access).

But now, Meta is finally moving on from CrowdTangle, and referring researchers to its other data tools instead.

If you are a researcher who conducts scientific or public interest research and maintains an affiliation with a qualified academic or non-profit institution, you are welcome to apply for access to Meta Content Library. The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan independently processes and reviews applications for access to the tools.”

Though CrowdTangle does also have value beyond academic research, with many marketers and journalists also using the app to uncover information about trends, monitor page posts, check on analytics, etc.

For this group, Meta says that you can use “Insights within Meta Business Suite” instead, while you can also use third-party social listening tools to replicate the info.

Which are not replacements, but that’s basically what we’ll now be left with, which will reduce overall research capacity around Meta’s apps, and/or cost users more money in signing up to different tools for similar purpose.

But really, the writing’s been on the wall for CrowdTangle for years, and it’s surprising that it’s stuck around this long. I personally use CrowdTangle every day, and it’s a great research and insights tool, and it is a shame to see it being phased out.

But it also makes sense. Meta no longer has a dedicated team supporting it, and it would prefer not to share the same level of data insight that the app currently facilitates. So it’s going away, though you still have a few months to dig into the data and uncover key trends if you need.

You can learn more about the CrowdTangle shut down here.

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