Last week, Meta published CrowdTangle Live Displays to help users sift through Facebook and Instagram posts of candidates ahead of the European Parliamentary elections, which begin this Thursday, June 6-9. But at present, Crowdtangle is still set to shut down in August; these displays are little more than window dressing as Meta continues to abandon the best functioning transparency tool that they have.

Meta’s latest action is confusing and distracting. At the 11th hour, they released European Parliamentary election-related dashboards compiling candidates and keywords, aimed at helping election monitoring groups around the EU do their important work—all the while ignoring calls from the research community.

Not good enough: Dashboards used to be standard practice by Meta. This is a bare minimum transparency effort that they had since abandoned. With the elections just days away, there is too little time for groups to meaningfully make use of these tools. Furthermore, CrowdTangle users could have made these kinds of leaderboards themselves and could have built them properly, choosing more contextually relevant keywords and avoiding some of the sloppiness and errors that researchers are finding in the current displays. For example, researchers have found that country searches include candidates from other countries, and that location filters restrict the ability to monitor foreign interference.

Public dashboards are an important transparency tool and should be a standard practice across all major online platforms, as set out in the European Commission’s Election Guidelines. Currently, public dashboards are not possible with the Meta Content Library.

But these new displays do not address the concerns of many election monitoring groups and are little more than a distraction from Meta's decision to shutter CrowdTangle in this major election year. CrowdTangle has not been onboarding new users, which means that monitoring organizations have not been able to make full use of the tool across their teams, and presumably, many groups have not been able to use the tool at all.

Currently, there is no sufficient replacement in place which matches CrowdTangle’s utility for global election monitoring, research and reporting. Meta has not reversed its decision to shut off all access to this tool on 14 August.

The European Commission is taking steps to hold Meta accountable and needs to do more. On April 30th, the European Commission, the regulator overseeing the EU’s platform accountability rules, opened formal proceedings against Meta looking into suspected infringements of the regulation, including those related to its decision to shut down CrowdTangle and the effects this could have on civic discourse and election monitoring. This is a positive sign that European rules like the Digital Services Act & the Code of Practice on Disinformation are working.

The risks to the European Elections by Meta platforms are real and very concerning, as evidenced most clearly by the Doppelganger influence campaign, which research groups have been monitoring using public data and transparency tools like CrowdTangle, and urging Meta to address for years.

In this year of 70+ elections globally, researchers, journalists, fact-checkers and election monitors urgently need access to public data for research and reporting that helps the public understand harmful misinformation that may be circulating about elections online.

The European Commission, and the research community must not be misled by Meta’s latest announcement. Meta has not rescinded plans to turn off CrowdTangle. The issues with Meta Content Library are still present. We will still be left without an effective third party monitoring tool in August. Our core concerns have not been addressed.

Our Asks to Meta Remain

  1. Keep CrowdTangle on beyond August 14th. Allow new users to be onboarded to CrowdTangle so that particular groups monitoring the EU elections can effectively do their work including post-election monitoring.
  2. In parallel, rapidly onboard all current CrowdTangle organizations to the Meta Content Library.
  3. Consult with the global Crowdtangle community to ensure that the Content Library meets their needs and becomes an equivalent and effective tool for third-party real-time civic discourse and election monitoring.
  4. Both the Content Library and CrowdTangle should add data about any election-related labels that are attached to public content and accounts by Meta, especially fact-checking and voter-interference.

We also call on the European Commission:

  1. Don’t be duped. These displays are not even a band-aid solution; they are a distraction. As the principal regulator of the potentially strongest platform regulation to date, the world is watching the European Commission’s next move.
  2. Maintain the formal proceedings into Meta’s decision to shutter CrowdTangle. The European Commission must work with Meta to ensure that they provide a permanent, real time civil discourse and election monitoring solution, and ensure that this new solution is widely available to election monitoring groups.
  3. While all eyes are on Meta, the European Commission should continue to push for the effective implementation of the Digital Services Act’s public data sharing requirements and effective risk mitigation measures across all of the designated platforms.

Endorsed by:

AI Forensics




Civil Liberties Union for Europe

Defend Democracy

Digital Action

EU DisinfoLab

Global Witness


Institute for Strategic Dialogue

Lie Detectors

Panoptykon Foundation


Rinascimento Green

VOST Europe


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