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Meta adds safety features to CrowdTangle in bid to address EU concerns

FILE PHOTO: Trade fair in Hannover Messe

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Meta Platforms has added safety features to its misinformation tracking tool CrowdTangle for use during European Parliament elections in an attempt to allay EU concerns that triggered an investigation last month into the impact of its decision to phase out the tool.

The U.S. social media platform last week said candidates for next month's polls will be shown a notification at the top of their feed in Facebook and Instagram on how to protect themselves and their accounts.

This includes directing them to resources that explain how, among others, to set up two-factor authentication, review security settings, or set up Hidden Words which is an Instagram feature that automatically sends personal message requests containing offensive words, phrases and emojis to a hidden folder.

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Meta, which has more than 250 million monthly users in the European Union, on Monday followed up last week's announcement with live displays for each EU country, sorted by relevant keywords, public groups and Instagram accounts, that will enable real-time election-monitoring by researchers, journalists and civil society.

The European Commission welcomed the move.

"The Commission will monitor the effective roll-out of these functionalities and will continue working with Meta towards more permanent solutions that meet all its concerns as set out in the opening decision," the EU executive said in a statement.

"The formal proceedings against Meta remain open," it said.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)