Social media company Facebook today announced the purchase of 4-year-old CrowdTangle, a tool broadly used by publishers to track how content is spread around the web. CrowdTangle basically shows its users the real-time pulse of the web, by developing a huge but hidden influence on the stories you see popping up in your news feeds throughout the day. The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed yet.
By buying CrowdTangle, Facebook wants to encourage publishers at a time of uncertainty. It wants to enable them to build sustainable and profitable businesses when most news is consumed on platforms that publishers don’t own. According to Facebook, it will continue to invest in this service so that more publishers can take advantage of it.
CrowdTangle, it is a small company, with a limited number of distributed team which had raised about $2.2 million million from investors like Betaworks.
It was originally designed as a tool to help activists organize their Facebook activity into a single place. Soon, co-founders Brandon Silverman and Matt Garmur realized that there was no money in it, so they tweaked the tool. They took a feature that showed which posts on their pages were getting the most engagement and turned it into a product. As a result a dashboard was made on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and (RIP) Vine, that any publisher could use to see what was working, and what wasn’t.
In no time the dashboard was being used by big publishers like BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, CNN, USA Today, ESPN, and MTV. Interestingly, It’s also used by profit making brands like L’Oreal Paris and non profits organizations like Greenpeace.
Speaking on the topic, Facebook said,
Publishers around the world turn to CrowdTangle to surface stories that matter, measure their social performance and identify influencers. We are excited to work with CrowdTangle to deliver these, and more insights to more publishers.