Facebook Knifes Its Own Analytics Tool to Hide Its Ben Shapiro Problem - 2021-07-14
Facebook gutted its data analytics tool, CrowdTangle, by reassigning dozens of its staff and sidelining its CEO after its data showed that incendiary screeds and misleading content from right-wing pages regularly outperform traditional news outlets on the News Feed, according to the New York Times.
CrowdTangle, a Facebook subsidiary, is one of the only ways to see into Facebook's black box of metrics from outside the company. It offers data on how content performs on public Pages and Groups in terms of "engagement," or how often a post is commented on, shared, liked, or receives a reaction emoji. This is some of the only transparency into the viral economy of Facebook that anyone without privileged access within the company gets.
CrowdTangle's engagement data has shown for quite some time that links from ultra-right commentators like logic troll Ben Shapiro, former NRATV goon Dan Bongino, and bloviating Fox News host Sean Hannity, as well as far-right sites like Breitbart and Newsmax, regularly score in the top 10 each day. That reinforces the (indisputably correct but politically inconvenient) notion that Facebook has fostered the kind of toxic right-wing echo chamber that fueled things like a vigilante shooting at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year or the January 2021 Capitol riots.