Facebook and academics are at odds over how they use their data to report on trends within the social network.
Members of the Cybersecurity For Democracy team, located at New York University, have tweeted that they had been shut down their accounts.
Facebook claimed that the tools used to access its data were in violation of user privacy.
Researchers claimed that Facebook had cut down their work in measuring vaccine disinformation.
Laura Edelson Tweet Facebook had suspended accounts associated with several members of the team, including hers.
She added that “the work of our team to make data about Facebook disinformation transparent is vital for a healthy internet and a healthy democracy.”
Other academics responded with concern, one even saying that the same thing had happened.
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But Facebook product management director Mike Clark Blogged Research should not be done at the expense of the privacy of individuals.
He said that the researchers had created a browser extension to bypass our detection systems. This extension was designed to scrape usernames, ads and links from user profiles, some of which are not publicly viewable on the platform.
“The extension also collected data on Facebook users who didn’t install it or consented to its collection.”
Clark stated that the company offered researchers several “privacy-protective” methods to collect and analyze data.
He said, “We are open to research that holds us responsible and doesn’t compromise our platform’s security or privacy,”
“No other choice”
The researchers were informed last summer that their Ad Observatory browser extension was in violation of Facebook’s terms. They were asked to cease scraping data from Facebook.
After repeatedly expressing its concerns, Facebook said that it was forced to disallow researchers’ access to their apps and developer accounts by BBC News.
Their access to Facebook has been shut down in the face of Facebook’s ongoing overhaul.
This year, a new interface for application programming (API), specifically designed to be accessible by researchers, will be released.
Facebook has eliminated many access methods to data in the wake of Cambridge Analytica’s scandal.
The new API for research is designed to allow you to access some of this material again.
Crowdtangle is being integrated into the wider transparency tools. It is a Facebook-owned tool that allows journalists, fact-checkers, and researchers to track, analyze, and report on social media trends.
But New York Times journalist Kevin Roose, Crowdtangle was used to report right-wing news was seeing more engagement from users than mainstream stories. This suggests that the company’s decision to downgrade its service was part of a larger public-relations plan to help “manage its image.”