We crawl local newspaper and television sites on a daily basis, and most of our protest data come from these crawls. If you're curious about how an article makes its way from the internet onto the Count Love map, we wrote a “making of” piece about our software stack for the European Journalism Centre's Data Driven Journalism resource.
Our initial protest data for the Women's Marches came from the Crowd Counting Consortium, and our initial leads for the travel ban rallies came from an article at ThinkProgress entitled, “Here’s your list of all the protests happening against the Muslim Ban.” For our visualizations, we draw maps using OpenStreetMap data, CARTO tiles and Leaflet; and we draw charts using Highcharts.
We count public displays of protest that are not part of "regular business." We typically do not include commemorative celebrations, historic reenactments, fundraising events, townhalls, vigils, or political campaign rallies unless they explicitly relate to a contemporary issue.
We record the most conservative attendance number from the news articles that we link. We interpret “a dozen” as 10, “dozens” as 20, “hundreds” as 100, and so forth. If an article mentions a demonstration but does not include an attendance count, we note the demonstration but leave the count empty.
Unfortunately, the internet is transient. While nothing disappears on the internet, most things don't stay in the same place in perpetuity. We have text archives of the linked articles that we reference, and we are currently exploring how to best make these archives available.
Yes! We hope that this site becomes a useful resource for journalists and concerned citizens. If the web interface is not sufficient to compile the information that you need, you can download a full export of our protest events, locations, dates, and counts as a CSV file.
Our data is available under the Creative Commons 4 Attribution license.
Protests and demonstrations represent one way to communicate to our elected leaders. Yet, it’s easy to lose track of exactly where and when protests took place and how many people participated. Additionally, searching through and visualizing individual records can be quite a daunting task. We hope that keeping a factual record of ongoing demonstrations and making this data more accessible helps citizens, journalists, and politicians make more compelling cases for a diverse, empathetic, and kind country.
We are Tommy Leung and Nathan Perkins, engineers and scientists with a keen interest in civic responsibility and public policy. We started Count Love in catharsis to 2016, and we continue active development during our free time. During our not-so-free time, Tommy advances online privacy as a software engineer at DuckDuckGo and Nathan models brains as part of his computational neuroscience research gig at Boston University. Tommy has a PhD from MIT in Engineering Systems, and Nathan will have one soon (hopefully). We met during overlapping stints at MIT while working on our Masters degrees in Technology and Policy, and we both did our undergrads in sunny Los Angeles—Tommy in Engineering at Harvey Mudd, and Nathan in Neuroscience at USC.
A few kind souls have occasionally mentioned/written about/featured us on the web: