Facebook.tracking.exposed (fbtrex) is a tool that enables journalists and researchers to understand how (and which) information spreads across the social media.

When you are browsing facebook.com, the chrome browser extension crawls public posts, which are then ar sent to our server . The data organized and stored are available for download and can be of interest for researchers, as well as journalists, and activists.

Numbers are crucial in this context. More users install the extension, the easier is to understand differences between bubbles, checking how different information environments shape different information reality of the users. And, more crucially, how this relates with social and political phenomena.

That’s why today we make this call for action, hoping it will spread across your network. We ask the help of contributors to archive digital evidences from each facebook personal experience. Together, we can understand how different information environments affect important political event like National Elections.

This message is intended for researchers and journalists concerned by Facebook influence over national election (or other politically sensitive topic, as referendum, strike, protests, campaigns …)

We focus on the Netherland elections call. See below if the topic appears often in your Facebook newsfeed, before the 15 of March 2017.

One crucial element for the developing an effective public debate is an informed citizenship. A number of recent episodes in the history of global politics have shown, however, that informed citizenship is the result of many different social influences. Among these, media contents –their distribution and their filtering– have sometimes impaired, rather than helped, citizens to engage in public debate. Fake news, partially distorted news, conspiracy theories or just misleading messages, have strong impact on our ability to track the truth in conversations. But there are no easy scapegoats. To blame only citizens is, in the cases mentioned, just to blame the victim; and to blame only technology is to exclude from the analysis their social value, i.e. what’s their role in shaping our social understanding.

Distorted public debate is particularly dangerous in cases of political decision-making, such as general elections. In all these cases, responsibility attribution is a serious issue, but evidence collection for this attribution might be extremely difficult, since the aforementioned interplay is sensitive to time.

Our proposal is to analyse the interplay between the way information is algorithmically structured and the resulted informed agency. In particular, we focus on how facebook’s personalization algorithms present reality to users and how the differences in the realities so presented influence agents’ capacity for informed decision-making.

facebook.tracking.exposed is a tool designed to collect time-sensitive evidences from each users’ reality, the one created for them by personalization algorithms. Our goal is to provide a structured set of evidences that can be used after the election for research and analysis.

How to use facebook.tracking.exposed

Just go to and install the web extension for Chrome Login in your Facebook account and follow the registration procedure to join the project facebook.tracking.exposed

The public post appearing in your timeline would be saved and available along all the other submitted data from The Netherlands. This will allow to see, for example, which posts were promoted by whom; if the likes where growing homogeneously; if the comments share artificial or human patterns of distribution. There are a number of analysis that can be performed with this set of data; however, in order to ensure the validity of any analysis, it is crucial to spread the browser extension between an heterogeneous set of users. In this way, the social network realities of the users before the election can be properly recorder.

FAQ

If you've any question, feel free to write to support at tracking dot exposed, questions in the public concern would be answered here.

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