Published On: Thu, Dec 7th, 2023

Social Media Researchers Struggle to Track Disinformation on X, Meta

Social Media Researchers Struggle to Track Disinformation on X, Meta
Social Media Researchers Struggle to Track Disinformation on X, Meta


Social media companies have been reassessing how outsiders access their data—and are concluding it should be harder or more expensive. Over the past year, both X (formerly Twitter) and Reddit have started charging for access they used to allow for free, following on previous restrictions from Meta Platforms Inc. The companies give various reasons, including a desire to cut down on bots, to reduce server costs or to protect privacy. But the changes have affected another function, too: research to track disinformation.

People at five research groups, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the platforms, say they’re breaking the companies’ rules to access the data they need to continue their work. The recent changes, they say, will make it harder to hold platforms and bad actors to account. The researchers want the companies to provide better data access, or to do a better job of policing their own apps. The issue is particularly critical, they say, as dozens of countries prepare for elections in 2024.


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