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Meta Adds Safety Features to CrowdTangle Amid EU Concerns

Meta Platforms Inc. (formerly Facebook) has implemented a series of safety enhancements to its social media disinformation tracking tool, CrowdTangle. This move directly responds to concerns the European Union (EU) raised regarding the potential misuse of the platform during the upcoming European Parliament elections.

The EU had previously launched an investigation into Meta’s decision to phase out CrowdTangle, citing anxieties about the tool’s role in facilitating the monitoring and potentially manipulating of election-related content. The new safety features are intended to alleviate these concerns and ensure responsible platform use during the elections.

One key safety measure involves providing notifications to candidates running in the elections. These notifications, displayed prominently at the top of candidates’ Facebook and Instagram feeds, will direct them toward resources that explain how to protect their online accounts. These resources will cover topics such as two-factor authentication, security settings, and the “Hidden Words” feature on Instagram, which automatically filters out offensive messages from private message requests.

Furthermore, Meta has introduced live displays for each EU country within CrowdTangle. These displays are categorized by relevant keywords, public groups, and Instagram accounts. This enhanced transparency allows researchers, journalists, and civil society organizations to monitor election-related activity in real time, fostering accountability and potentially mitigating the spread of misinformation.

The European Commission has acknowledged the steps Meta has taken. While welcoming the implementation of these safety features, the commission has emphasized that it will continue to monitor their effectiveness. The commission also reiterated its desire for Meta to establish more permanent solutions that comprehensively address all its concerns. Formal legal proceedings against Meta remain ongoing.

The addition of safety features to CrowdTangle signifies Meta’s attempt to balance facilitating legitimate election monitoring and preventing the spread of disinformation.  The success of these measures will depend on their effectiveness in mitigating risks and upholding democratic principles during the European Parliament elections.

In conclusion, Meta’s efforts to strengthen CrowdTangle with safety features respond to EU anxieties regarding potential manipulation of online discourse during elections.  The ongoing legal proceedings and the effectiveness of these new measures will be closely monitored as the EU strives to ensure a free and fair electoral process.

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