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A thread on @SocSciOne's @crowdtangle through which all analysis of public @facebook data will be operated after 4th Sept. Overtly restrictive, it warrants the death of masters/undergrad FB study, endangers non-political study, and promotes the illegal scraping of data. 1/
So if you are going to want to analyse even the most basic public @Facebook data, data basically identical to what #Netvizz #facepager accessed you will need to submit to these demands -docs.google.com/document/d/1aB… 2/
Here is what @crowdtangle gives you -docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d… - basically the same data from the free-API era with a few more measures of reach - see my image of #netvizz data. 3/
Firstly you must have PI status - "Applications are welcome from individuals or teams of researchers with PI privileges at a college or university." 4/
PI status is not linear across the world's universities. Are undergrads/masters students going to able to analyse? I did my Master's thesis on Facebook use by political parties and this led to my PhD. Answer is no, they are chipping away at the foundations of academia. 5/
If you wanted to gain access to public Facebook data you will need to send; a 300 word proposal -that should "pertain to the effect of social media on elections and democracy". This is very very bad... 6/
... what about the many studies that have used public data to examine areas, from analysis of engagement during the London Olympic Games (Fernández Peña et al, 2017), to marketing (Zamenjani, 2015). A colleague of mine studies memorialisation on Facebook... 7/
In the abstract you must "make sure to address: general area of focus, proposed methodology (including specifics where available), and any planned use of other datasets in conjunction with CrowdTangle". So you had best know the data before you get access. 8/
They grant access for 12 months only, this is ridiculous, why not allow for 3 month integers? Doing so raises the bar even higher.

You had also better have an "online website" to go with your CV and "outline of technical qualifications of the PI and team members" 9/
You will "provide drafts of academic papers to Social Science One". While researchers will also be required to agree to the CrowdTangle terms of service. See -crowdtangle.com/terms 10/
The TOS are also problematic. You automatically agree with any changes that may be made - "CrowdTangle may... update or otherwise change the Terms of Service from time to time.... Your continued use of the Services after any such change constitutes your acceptance" 11/
Also they can shut you out at any time without needing to give a reason "CrowdTangle, in its sole discretion, has the right to suspend, terminate or restrict your access to the Services, or any other CrowdTangle service, for any reason and at any time. " 12/
So we seeing all fields of study outside of electoral politics, areas interested in Facebook's millions of public pages shut down. We are witnessing the implementation of a hierarchical and restrictive set of parameters that are stifling of research. 13/
The idea that we are going to have better research through restricting access in such an arbitrary manner is foolhardy. We have barely scratched the surface of Facebook and social media in an open environment, how will this make things better? 14/
Undergrads, masters, PhD's, profs, lecturers and others interested in studying non-political Facebook will have no access. These regulations turn these people into criminals, as the only access they will have is via scraping tools that breach the Facebook TOS. 15/
Please bare in mind this is all for the easiest and widest system of accessing public Facebook data. The RFP for Targeted Ad's has similar flaws docs.google.com/document/d/1Rb…. While the RFP for URL's are far more restrictive and rightly so as they access elements of personal data. 16/
Overall I am not optimistic about the capacity for researchers to hold @Facebook, or the powerful who use the platform, to account. Nor do I see a future where we will know more about the platform, instead it is becoming oblique at a time when it is becoming more powerful. End/
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