watch events horizontally

fbTREX RSS feed has rolled out ahead of the 2019 European elections to empower citizens to educate themselves and each other based on a collective feed of information on various subjects.

Facebook does not enable us to understand or control how our news feed content is selected, and has even been found to provide different users seeking the same information completely different lenses through which to perceive of the subject, as Eli Pariser discovered. The influence that Facebook’s algorithm exercises over our worldviews reinforces political polarisation and restricts users’ common access to a complete spectrum of knowledge.

To understand the complex, contemporary political debate, we need tools to help us pop our filter bubbles. fbTREX RSS feed allows us to analyse, experiment with, and educate ourselves about the information in each of our news feeds, in order to make more informed decisions based on a broader, collective perspective of facts and events.

fbTREX RSS feed is a disintermediated, machine-readable data feed. Queries retrieve posts from all contributors’ feeds collectively and present them transparently and chronologically, providing a logical, horizontal view of all of the information collected.

We hope that you will consider assisting in the development of this tool by donating your own public news feed content to this collaborative portal of information.

fbTREX RSS feed is designed to foster the spirit of the GDPR, empowering us to have more control over the sources that inform us and enabling us to escape the filter bubbles Facebook has designated for us.

fbTREX is not a SOCMINT tool. RSS queries are restricted to concepts represented by Wikipedia entries. This makes it useful for research and exploration into a broad range of subjects, while preventing potential abuse of personal data.

What is RSS?

RSS is a format which delivers a disintermediated, chronologically-ordered feed for web content. It is often used by news sites and blogs because it enables readers to subscribe to receive updates about new content through RSS reader webapps or software.

For more information on the history and use of RSS versus social media, check out this article.

There are various RSS readers for various platforms, but here are some of the options to get you started:

RSS Readers

Cross-platform
  • Feedly: Webapp, iOS, Android. Proprietary. Requires registration, but not a valid email.
  • Winds: Pre-compiled binaries for Windows, OSX and GNU/Linux. Open source. Requires registration, but not a valid email.
OSX
  • ViennaRSS: Pre-compiled binaries, compatible with Mojave. Open source.
Android
  • Flym: FOSS alternative.
Other resources

Wikipedia’s comparison of feed readers
Readers available on github

Privacy

fbTREX prioritises the protection of personal data. Access to the full fbTREX dataset is strictly limited to researchers analysing collective phenomena in the public interest. We are asking individuals only to share some of the public data that Facebook provides them – the goal is to study social media, not the subjects participating. Still, this information can contain a lot of personally identifying information (PII), so fbTREX’s ethical policy imposes the following limits: * We will collect only the information that Facebook provides to you in your news feed * We will collect only posts marked as public. We will never collect posts marked for friends only. * You have full control over your data, and may delete it at any time. * No one will have access to your data unless you expressly grant them access. You will have to opt-in to any third-party, including research groups, that you may want to interact with. * All research conducted must strictly aim at understanding social phenomena and algorithmic influence, you will never be the subject or object of any study.

CTA

First part:
Pop your bubble!

Second part:
Explore our collective news feed
Explore our collaborative news feed