CrowdTangle creates new possibilities for transparency

Christopher Miles, CrowdTangle
Christopher Miles, CrowdTangle

CrowdTangle helps news organisations better understand the workings of social media. The Facebook-owned tool is free for journalistic organisations across the world, and targets journalists’ needs.

By Joan Rask

CrowdTangle wishes to assist media companies in developing their business model, increase profits, and find the best stories. Christopher Miles is a strategic partner manager at CrowdTangle, and he is responsible for the Northern part of Europe.

“If you are a legitimate news publisher, you have access to CrowdTangle or you can get access,” says Christopher Miles.

The tool is free and is used to monitor social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit). It was originally developed to facilitate media companies. A few years ago, CrowdTangle was just a successful start-up, charging as much as $5000 US dollars per month for their services. At that time, only one or two Nordic media companies had a license, but in 2017 Facebook bought CrowdTangle as a part of the Facebook Journalism Project and now there are more than 75 partners in the Nordic Countries.

“CrowdTangle adds a lot of transparency that the media maybe didn’t have before. Facebook wanted it to be open to big brands and also to very small newsrooms, and that was the big reason for making it free,” explains Christopher Miles.

The best thing

When asked what he thinks is the best thing about CrowdTangle, Christopher Miles flashes a big smile.

I guess one of the best things is content discovery. It helps journalist to track stories, groups, local news – but we know that a lot of journalists also use CrowdTangle to track and uncover misinformation

– Christopher Miles

“I guess one of the best things is content discovery. It helps journalist to track stories, groups, local news – but we know that a lot of journalists also use CrowdTangle to track and uncover misinformation,” he says.

And he continues:

“And the second best is the digital strategy. A lot of other tools only give you data of your own content, but CrowdTrangle also tracks what your competitors are doing and what other news agencies are doing.”

The weakest part

CrowdTangle only monitors public content — public engagement data from public pages and posts. The ambition is to make sure that the tool is able to evolve in a way that it continues to add value on new social media formats.

“More and more stories are happening in places like Facebook and Instagram Stories, a new innovative format we don’t cover. And as we want to create value to journalists and newsrooms, we are looking deeply into these new formats these days,” he says.

But he is not afraid of the future.

“All social media has to evolve – so must CrowdTangle. We do not know how at the moment, but I’m sure we will find out,” says the digital expert.

A small organisation

Only around 20 people work at CrowdTangle. Half of them are engineers, who are making the tool better, faster, and more user-friendly. The other half is in business development like Christopher Miles. He is very often abroad, training journalist and editors in newsrooms all over Europe. Actually, the people who use CrowdTangle the most tend to be social media editors and digital analysts.

“But there are very interesting news cases when journalists use our tools,” he says, pointing out that some very interesting stories surfaced in Sweden during the election in 2018. They were from SVT and from an academic group which followed the election through social media. That is the kind of stories he and his colleagues like.

We hate to see news organisations fail. CrowdTangle is a very powerful tool – and we are here to help

– Christopher Miles

“We want to help journalist to track branded content, to understand how a video is performing, and to understand how much a story potentially is worth,” he says.

He stresses that all that data can be useful, especially to small news organisations, and that he views it as a big issue if the media do not understand how to capitalize their business.

“We hate to see news organisations fail. CrowdTangle is a very powerful tool – and we are here to help,” Christopher Miles says.

More:

CrowdTangle.com

More about the use of CrowdTangle: De fanger flere solo-historier, nedbringer Fake News og laver bedre research

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