Brandon Silverman, the founder and CEO of the Facebook-owned analytics tool CrowdTangle, is leaving the company, according to an internal farewell post to colleagues posted Wednesday that was seen by The Verge.
His departure comes as Facebook is under pressure to publicly share more data about the content that spreads on its service. CrowdTangle, a free tool that lets anyone track popular posts across Facebook and Instagram, is at the center of that debate. In recent years, it has been used to show that far-right personalities are regularly the most engaged-with accounts on Facebook. That irritated some Facebook executives who felt that the data being shared by CrowdTangle was incomplete, and earlier this year, the CrowdTangle team was disbanded as a standalone team.
Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne confirmed Silverman’s departure and said it would have “no change on day-to-day functioning of the CrowdTangle product experience.” He added that Silverman left “day-to-day management” of CrowdTangle after it was moved into Facebook’s broader Integrity organization a couple of months ago “as part of a growing suite of transparency resources,” such as the company’s ads library.
Facebook bought CrowdTangle in 2016 as it was courting media companies to post more on its News Feed, and the tool is still used to track viral posts on the social network. “You don’t do this work because you’re looking for some specific outcome our credibility or legitimacy or trust, but because so many public interest orgs simply need this data to do their work,” Silverman said in his farewell post to employees.
“I’m not sure what the future holds for CrowdTangle or data transparency here at Facebook, but I’m optimistic,” he wrote.
This story is developing…
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