Citizen Browser

The latest findings from The Markup's Citizen Browser project

The latest findings from The Markup's Citizen Browser project

By subscribing, you agree with Revue’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and understand that Citizen Browser will receive your email address.

Citizen Browser





Facebook Promised to Remove “Sensitive” Ads. Here’s What It Left Behind

By Angie Waller and Colin LecherLate last year, after facing years of criticism for its practices, Facebook announced a change to its multibillion-dollar advertising system: Companies buying ads would no longer be able to target people based on interest categ…


Facebook Scammers Shilling Fake Crypto Using Big Tech’s Biggest Names

Facebook Scammers Are Schilling Fake Cryptocurrency Using Big Tech’s Biggest NamesFacebook ads have popped up to advertise nonexistent Amazon, Tesla, and even Facebook cryptocurrenciesBy Colin Lecher and Surya MattuEarlier this month, some users scrolling thr…


Facebook Says It’s Dropped “Sensitive” Ad Targeting Categories

Hello, friends,According to a recent announcement by Facebook’s parent company, Meta, Jan. 19 marked the day that Facebook stopped allowing advertisers to target people on the platform based on certain “sensitive” categories such as health conditions, race, p…


A Year After Capitol Riot, Americans Still See Very Different Facebooks

By Colin Lecher and Leon YinEven as rioters were storming the United States Capitol one year ago, the seeds of two different narratives of Jan. 6 were already forming on social media. In one, seen by Facebook users who voted for Joe Biden and covered by mains…


Facebook Isn’t Telling You How Popular Right-Wing Content Is on the Platform

Facebook Isn’t Telling You How Popular Right-Wing Content Is on the PlatformFacebook insists that mainstream news sites perform the best on its platform. But by other measures, sensationalist, partisan content reignsby Corin FaifeIn early November, Facebook p…


New Report from Süddeutsche Zeitung

Hello, friends, The German elections took place on Sept. 26, and while the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party came in second to last with 10.3 percent of the vote, it will be part of the negotiations in forming a government. By claiming its small s…


Leaked Facebook Documents Reveal Company Failure on Election Promise

By Todd FeathersLeaked internal Facebook documents show that a combination of technical miscommunications and high-level decisions led to one of the social media giant’s biggest broken promises of the 2020 election—that it would stop recommending political gr…


Germany’s Far-Right Party, the AfD, Is Dominating Facebook This Election

By Angie Waller and Colin LecherEarlier this month, Germany’s far-right nationalist political party Alternative für Deutschland, or the AfD, posted on Facebook. Widespread support for Sharia law among Muslims in Afghanistan, the group claimed, illustrated the…


Facebook News Feed Change Blocks Watchdogs from Gathering Data

By Corin FaifeFacebook has begun rolling out an update that is interfering with watchdogs monitoring the platform.The Markup has found evidence that Facebook is adding changes to its website code that foils automated data collection of news feed posts—a techn…


How The Daily Wire Uses Facebook’s Targeted Advertising

How The Daily Wire Uses Facebook’s Targeted Advertising to Build Its BrandThe social media giant's powerful targeting tools appear to be part of Ben Shapiro’s success in growing his audience on the platformBy Corin Faife


Bringing the Citizen Browser Project to Germany

Hello, friends,Big Tech is global, but The Markup—which aims to be a Big Tech watchdog—is just a small nonprofit newsroom based in the U.S. This imbalance has meant that unfortunately, until now, we have not done much accountability journalism about the impac…


The Markup and Süddeutsche Zeitung Bring Citizen Browser to Germany

The Markup and Süddeutsche Zeitung Team Upto Bring The Citizen Browser Project to GermanyCollaboration Designed to Audit Facebook's Impact on the 2021 German Federal ElectionNew York and Munich, 27 July 2021 — The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom that investigate…


Facebook Climate Change Misinformation Strategy a Bit Spotty, Our Data Shows

Hello, friends,In September 2020, some six months into the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Facebook announced that it would adapt its strategy for addressing coronavirus misinformation to also address platform chatter on another existential threat: climate cha…


Facebook Got Rid of Racial Ad Categories. Or Did It?

By Jon KeeganLast year, Facebook quietly moved to prevent advertisers from choosing the race of the people who would see their ads. The move—which eliminated ad targeting categories like “African-American multicultural affinity”—came after years of criticism …


On Critical Race Theory and Juneteenth, Facebook Splits Coverage

Hello, Friends,Our Citizen Browser project gives us a unique tool: the ability to gauge, when big events happen or incendiary political debates flare up, how they’re being represented on thousands of Facebook feeds around the country. We did this after the Ja…


Despite Repeated Promises, Facebook Still Recommends Political Groups

By Colin Faife and Alfred NgFour days after the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill, a member of the “Not My President” Facebook group wrote in a post, “remember, our founding fathers were seen as terrorist [sic] and traitors.” A fellow group member commented…


Senator Calls Facebook Response on Discriminatory Ads “Inadequate”

by Alfred NgA senator who demanded Facebook explain why it allowed advertisers to target credit card ads by age—a violation of written company policy and potentially civil rights laws—is now criticizing the company for failing to provide clear answers.“Having…


Facebook Still Recommending Anti-Vaccine Groups Despite Pledge

Facebook Said It Would Stop Recommending Anti-Vaccine Groups. It Didn't.As COVID-19 surged, the social media company pointed users to all sorts of anti-vaccine and anti-mask groupsBy Corin Faife and Dara KerrFacebook broadcast a sweeping pledge in a Feb. 8 bl…


How Big Pharma Finds Sick Users on Facebook

By Colin LecherIf you’re a drug manufacturer looking for patients, one company has become a major destination in the past few years: Facebook. The social media giant, through its power to target users based on their interests, is especially attractive to phar…


Facebook Pledges to Remove Discriminatory Ads Found by The Markup

By Alfred Ng and Corin FaifeFacebook says it will remove ads from several companies that violated its anti-discrimination policy after The Markup discovered companies targeting financial services to specific age groups on the platform. Facebook policy prohibi…