Facebook made a change to prevent middlemen from collecting data
Facebook made a change to prevent middlemen from collecting data

According to The Markup, a non-profit news organization developed for Citizen Browser, Facebook has made changes to its newsfeed that will affect browser tools used by journalists and researchers.

These changes impede the automatic collection of data from news feed posts, and organizations such as New York University's Ad Monitor, The Markup, and other researchers and journalists use this technology to censor what's happening on the web.

According to the report, the company has added code to the HTML feature to improve accessibility for visually impaired users.

The result is that the code prevents the browser from automatically collecting data about posts in the newsfeed. It also affects browser-based ad blocking services across the platform.

These changes may also hinder the use of screen readers by blind and visually impaired users who have had difficulty using the platform in the past.

For researchers investigating issues such as ad targeting and misinformation, these types of browser-based tools are becoming increasingly important.

The researchers say these tools are one of the few ways to access critical data about how newsfeeds work.

The changes to Facebook have disrupted the Ad Observer, said Laura Edelson, principal investigator for the New York University Cybersecurity Strengthening Project for Democracy who runs Ad Observer. But we managed to find an alternative solution.

Facebook blocks automatic data collection

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that the company was investigating the allegations. We are constantly working on changing the code on our service. But we haven't made any code changes recently to prevent these research projects. Our accessibility features seem to be working as usual, but we're investigating the suspected outage.

The code change issue is the latest issue between the company and researchers. Who said it gets in the way of their efforts to understand what's going on on their platform?

In addition, the company last month disabled the personal accounts of New York University researchers working with Ad Observer. They said they violated the company's privacy policy. The Federal Trade Commission subsequently condemned Facebook for making misleading comments about the reasons for these actions.

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