Q. What data does CrowdTangle track?
A. Read this article for information on the data that CrowdTangle tracks.
Q. How should I cite CrowdTangle data, or describe it in an article I’m writing?
A. This article contains information about how to cite and describe CrowdTangle data.
Q. Why can I see metrics on posts from the time a Page was created, but can't see Page Likes from that same time period?
A. CrowdTangle can only track Page Likes starting when the Page was added to our system. You might see Post metrics that go further back than Page Likes for this reason.
Q. How can I share my data with other researchers for validation or replication?
A. You may send a CSV to other individual researchers, but please do not post the CSV online for anyone to access. If you do want to make information publicly accessible, you're welcome to post the Page or Group IDs of the Pages and Groups that you studied, so that others can recreate your List in CrowdTangle and pull the same dataset.
Q. How do I take a random sample from CrowdTangle?
A. Follow the steps below.
- Create a Saved Search for any term.
- Edit the Saved Search term to be only a space in the “Any” field. Save the query.
- When you navigate back to the Posts tab in the Saved Search, you’ll see Posts from every single Page (or Group, depending on how you set your Saved Search) in CrowdTangle. We call this a “Blank Search,” and I changed the name of the Search to match this so I can keep track of it.
- Next, navigate to Historical Data. Select the Saved Search you just created as the scope of your search, and select your date range. Click “Fetch History” to get the CSV via email.
- Once you’ve downloaded the Historical Data CSV, you can use a random number generator to generate row numbers, and thus select a random sample of Posts from that CSV. To take a random sample of the Pages/Groups, de-duplicate the sheet by Page Name (or Facebook ID), and select a random sample from those.
- Remember that this is a random sample of CrowdTangle, not all of Facebook. Read more about CrowdTangle’s representativeness by Page size here.
Q. How can I see incremental change in a post’s interactions over time?
A. To see how a post’s interactions have changed over time, click the inverted carat on the upper-right-hand corner of the post, and click “download CSV”. This will show you the timesteps and corresponding change in interaction rates in an Excel CSV file.
Q. How can I see how many times a keyword has been mentioned in the CrowdTangle database?
A. To see how many times a keyword has been mentioned, set up a Saved Search with your parameters. Then, navigate to the leaderboard in the Saved Search. This will show you how many posts each source has made with that keyword within the time period your search is set for.
Q. How often is the data on Posts refreshed?
A. We refresh the data for Facebook and Instagram Posts about once every 15 minutes.
Q. Is there a limit to how many Posts I can download in a CSV?
A. You can download a maximum of 10,000 Posts in a CSV.
Q. Can I download the entire text of a Post in a CSV?
A. The text of the Post will truncate at about 1000 words.
Q. Why is my Search for URLs with a query string truncating after the question mark?
A. We don't automatically track query URLs. This article explains how to ensure that query URLs will surface within Search, but unfortunately, this won't work using Link Search in the API or Chrome Extension.
Check out the API cheat sheet here.
Q. Why don’t I have access to the Posts/Search API even though I have API access enabled?
A. Posts/Search is the only API endpoint we don’t activate by default, because it’s a heavier call than all the others. In order to activate it, just write into email@example.com and ask for it to be activated. Once you provide us with your use case, we’ll activate it and you’ll be good to go.
Q. Can I increase my API call limit beyond 6 calls/min (Posts, Search, Leaderboard, Lists) and 2 calls/min (Links)?
A. Please write into firstname.lastname@example.org and request the increase that you need. Once the tech team approves the request and adjusts the rate limit in our system, you’ll be good to go.
Q. Why is it taking so long for the API to load data, and how can I make sure that CrowdTangle doesn’t crash for everyone while I’m using the API?
A. If you are not setting start and end date parameters, it takes our system much longer, and takes more energy, to query the database. A call should take about 10 seconds for very long queries, and with data parameters, should only take in the hundreds of milliseconds. Set date parameters to speed up your call, and to make sure CrowdTangle stays available for everyone!
Q. Can I do a weighted search with the Posts/Search endpoint?
A. No. The Search endpoint operates similarly to the Historical Data download in the UI, wherein you can’t weight or set very granular parameters. If you want to pull in data from a weighted search using the API, create the search using Saved Search in the UI, and then pull from that search by putting the search ID into the /Posts endpoint.
Q. What is the maximum number of Posts that the API will return per query?
A. All API endpoints will time out after 10,000 posts. We recommend slicing your query by time to make sure that you don't miss any Posts.
Q. Can I give CrowdTangle access to my students?
A. Currently, we only allow employees of your university or organization to access CrowdTangle through your account, and unfortunately, this does not include students (unless they’re your Research Assistant). We’re still exploring policies for the Academics and Researchers vertical, and it’s possible this will change in the future.