Unprecedented Access: Meta’s Content Library Offers Researchers a Secure Digital Workspace for Data Analysis

Meta is launching new tools to give researchers access to data from Facebook and Instagram. The tools will provide real-time information about user-generated content, such as the number of times an Instagram Reel is viewed or the amount of posts made on a Facebook page. The Meta Content Library will be accessible on the web through a controlled-access platform, and analysis of the data will be done through an API with search capabilities. Eligible researchers will need to be pre-approved and submit an application with a detailed explanation of the research project. Once granted access, there are no fees associated with the Content Library. However, Meta has faced criticism for similar tools in the past, with concerns about data privacy and API access. The new tools may not alleviate public pressure amid ongoing controversies surrounding content moderation, fake news, and allegations of harming younger users. A highly gatekept API may not be enough to convince regulators that Meta has the public’s best interest in mind.