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Meta to Shut Down Fake News Tracking Tool Before US Election

In preparation for the upcoming US election, Meta, the company behind Facebook, plans to scrap CrowdTangle, a tool that helps track fake news.

A report by AFP suggests that this move worries experts who fear it will make it harder to spot false information during the crucial voting period.

The tech giant announced that CrowdTangle will no longer be available after August 14, just a few months before the election.

Instead, Meta will introduce a new tool, but experts say it will not have the same capabilities and will not be widely accessible to news organizations.

For years, CrowdTangle has been essential for researchers and journalists, providing real-time insights into the spread of misinformation on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Experts argue that removing this monitoring tool reflects a broader trend in the tech industry of reducing transparency and security measures.

With elections happening in many countries this year, the lack of tools to combat false narratives is particularly concerning.

“In a year where almost half of the global population is expected to vote in elections, cutting off access to CrowdTangle will severely limit independent oversight of harms,” said Melanie Smith, a researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

Meta plans to replace CrowdTangle with a new Content Library, but some experts doubt its effectiveness, especially in combating AI-generated falsehoods during elections.

The decision to retire CrowdTangle worries journalists and researchers who have relied on it to uncover various issues, from public health crises to human rights abuses.

While Meta claims the new tool will offer more comprehensive data, concerns remain about its accessibility and functionality for independent researchers.

Overall, Meta’s move to retire CrowdTangle raises questions about transparency and accountability in combating fake news, particularly during critical moments like elections.

 

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