It’s been a tough year for fact-checkers. At least three major digital tools have been lost so far, and fact-checkers have already seen the impact on their daily routines. The worst news, however, is that another big loss is due next month.
In June, Vice reported that Facebook had quietly changed Graph Search, a tool that allowed fact-checkers to map informational networks within the platform to find the origin of false news item.
This was one of the most useful search-engines in many fact-checkers’ daily routines. In India, fact-checkers were able to expose a fugitive criminal by using the tool. Fact-checkers in France were able to investigate sexual abuse against teenagers. And in Brazil, fact-checkers disclosed the existence of disinformation networks against certain politicians.
After Graph Search was shut down, journalists turned to third-party applications that could also scrape data inside Facebook and help separate fact from fiction. Stalkscan, Sowdust and PeoplefindThor are just a few examples of websites that were well-known within the open-source intelligence (OSINT) community and became big hits with the international fact-checking community. But it didn’t take long until Facebook made other changes that led to these sites also shutting down.
Now, it’s the Facebook-owned CrowdTangle that will face a major alteration. The platform, which was built to uncover and monitor the spread of social media content, will stop offering Twitter data on its dashboard starting Sept. 29.
According to a Facebook’s spokesperson, this decision is related to an API change Twitter announced in March.
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/fact-checking/2019/fact-checkers-have-lost-important-digital-tools-and-will-lose-one-more-in-september/