Platform Transparency Tools & The Brussels Effect

Researcher and civil society access to data on and about prominent social media platforms has become the primary way policymakers, the public, and advertisers understand the information environment. Advocates and policymakers globally have called for mandated transparency and researcher access to data, but efforts to pass new laws have stalled in Congress and the courts.

Europe, however, has made considerable strides in coaxing transparency from large platforms. First, in June 2022, select platforms signed the Code of Practice on Disinformation, which describes a range of commitments made by several digital platforms, to counter online disinformation. Specifically, Commitment 26 states that “Relevant Signatories commit to provide access, wherever safe and practicable, to continuous, real-time or near real-time, searchable stable access to non-personal data and anonymised, aggregated, or manifestly-made public data for research purposes on Disinformation through automated means such as APIs or other open and accessible technical solutions allowing the analysis of said data.” Second, the Digital Services Act (DSA) mandates that Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Search Engines submit a series of transparency requirements, most notably, Article 40 mandates that platforms share data with researchers including giving “access without undue delay to data, including, where technically possible, to real-time data, provided that the data is publicly accessible in their online interface by researchers, including those affiliated to not for profit bodies, organizations and associations.”

The question for online safety advocates outside the EU remains: will the programs prominent social media platforms deploy to abide by EU policy expand to include researchers and data from social media users outside Europe? Or, more simply, will there be a Brussels effect on platform transparency?

Transparency Tools

This tracker aims to describe existing research access tools and to monitor notable changes. To describe existing research tools, we copy and link to text directly from the platforms where possible. As platforms announce changes, we will track them under announcements. Additionally, when features are only available in the EU, we include a jurisdiction tag indicating an EU focus. 

We are starting with researcher tools from the most popular social media platforms. Our hope is to expand tracking to other platforms and to other transparency measures including static content moderation reports and transparency provisions in the EU’s Digital Markets Act and EU AI Act. Changes are being announced quickly and sometimes lack detail, this means the tracker will require a community effort. 

If you are using (or trying to use) these transparency tools and are experiencing something different than we have documented or want to note a shortcoming standing in the way of meaningful research, we want to hear from you. Please complete this form.


As the companies and/or technology journalists report on changes to the platform’s transparency tools, we will add them to the table below. 

Note: it is not uncommon for platforms to make changes to their terms of service without an official announcement, we will do our best to find these and ask the research community to let us know if a change has been missed via this form.


As platforms launch or change their transparency tools, academics, and civil society will assess the tools for their usability and effectiveness. We will track those assessments below. 

Tracker was launched by Anna Lenhart and Annika Springsteel and is maintained by the IDDP team