Twitter makes changes that screws things up for researchers

John Moe Mar 4, 2011

Twitter is changing its terms of service. Might not make a big difference to you and me as we tweet about the tv show we’re watching or what we’re cooking for dinner. But, it will mean a lot to researchers who are trying to use data from Twitter to learn about the world. In late Feb., Twitter announced it would no longer let people create and export archived tweets using certain words or hashtags. So groups like 140kit – a group that grew out of the Berkman Center – can’t help researchers get their hands on Twitter data to study things like the intersection of Twitter and politics in the Middle East.

From the New York Times:

As part of the new Twitter terms of service, 140kit like other organizations can no longer offer exports of Twitter data for any purposes – whether that’s for profit or non-profit, whether that’s for developers or scholars. You could be writing the next killer app. Or you could be working on the final chapter of your PhD dissertation. (And let me interject right here and say that having your access to research data shut down as a PhD student is beyond devastating.) It doesn’t matter. Exporting Tweets now violates the TOS.

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