The CrowdTangle team disbanded in 2021, new user registrations ended in 2022, and now the site will officially shut down on August 14th. Wall Street Journal reports. Journalists and academics have used CrowdTangle to study the flow of content on Facebook and Instagram, including conspiracy theories and fake news. Meta, which bought the company in 2016, choosing to shut down the company is a completely unsurprising move given that it has been the source of many of the social media conglomerate’s failures.

A tool called the Meta Content Library will replace CrowdTangle, but only academics and non-profit researchers can use it. That’s right—for-profit news organizations can’t apply for access to what sounds like a watered-down version of CrowdTangle. Meta claims that its content library – which is the company’s answer to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act – has new features such as public comment data and content search based on views. However, early testers found it lacked geo-based activity data or the ability to pull data from public posts.

Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg certainly benefit from limiting how much people — especially reporters — can see about their actions. We recently published an in-depth examination of Zuckerberg’s dangerous decisions, including defying the warnings of experts and personally intervening to block Instagram’s ban on plastic surgery filters. Other horrors under his watch include Instagram’s recommendation algorithm promoting content involving child sexual exploitation and regularly rejecting requests from top lieutenants to further prioritize safety. Then, in court, his lawyers argued that he should not be liable for the cases involving damages caused by Meta’s platforms.

On Thursday, former Crowdtangle co-founder and CEO Brandon Silverman criticized Meta’s decision to shut down the service. IN blog post, Silverman said that shutting down Crowdtangle 12 weeks before the US presidential election was “incredibly irresponsible.” However, he added that he is optimistic that Crowdtangle’s legacy will help “inspire an ongoing set of regulations that make real-time access to public data a legal requirement and a permanent part of how we govern the Internet responsibly and collaboratively.” “

Update, March 14, 2024, 8:24 PM ET: This story has been updated to include Silverman’s reaction to Meta’s decision to kill Crowdtangle.

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