Knight Institute Comment on ProPublica Report on Facebook’s Obstruction of Research and Journalism

January 28, 2019

A ProPublica report published today reveals that recent changes Facebook made are impeding journalists and researchers from investigating the platform.

Alex Abdo, Senior Staff Attorney with the Knight First Amendment Institute had this reaction:

ProPublica’s report is deeply disturbing. Facebook is obstructing some of the journalism that’s most important right now—journalism focused on Facebook itself.

"Given recent revelations, we need to understand the effect Facebook is having on society. Is it distorting public discourse, deepening social divisions, or being used to manipulate the outcome of our elections? We cannot trust Facebook to be its own gatekeeper. We need journalists and researchers to help answer these enormously important questions.

"If Facebook is committed to becoming more transparent, it should welcome independent investigation of its platform by journalists and researchers.”

Read the ProPublica report. 

For more information, contact: Lorraine Kenny, Communications Director, Knight Institute, lorraine.kenny@knightcolumbia.org.

About the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University

The Knight First Amendment Institute is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization established by Columbia University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to defend the freedoms of speech and press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. Its aim is to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government.