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Meta Pulls Support for Tool Used to Keep Misinformation in Check

Researchers who depend on CrowdTangle to find social media’s worst content are worried about what happens when it goes away.

Facebook Changes Name To Meta In Embrace Of Virtual Reality
Photographer: Nick Otto/Bloomberg
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On May 17, as several states held their primary elections, Jesse Littlewood searched the internet using a tool called CrowdTangle to spot the false narratives he knew could change perceptions of the results: damaging stories about ballots being collected and dropped off in bulk by unauthorized people, who the misinformation peddlers called “ballot mules.”

Littlewood, the vice president for campaigns with the voter advocacy group Common Cause, easily came across dozens of posts showing a “Wanted” poster falsely accusing a woman of being a ballot mule in Gwinnett County, Georgia. He raised alarm bells with Facebook and Twitter. “This was going to lead to threats and intimidation of this individual who may be an elections worker, and there was no evidence that this person was doing anything illegal,” Littlewood said. “It needed to be removed.”