Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Twitter Launches an Academic Research API Track

While I am on the topic of Twitter and its APIs, the company announced a new one of those today specifically for qualified researchers.

Karissa Bell, Engadget:

The new Academic Research track could have major implications for researchers studying election security, misinformation and other big issues affecting Twitter. While the company has previously made this kind of data  available to developers, it was prohibitively expensive for most researchers. But with the new API, approved researchers will be able access a full history of all public conversations on Twitter, as well as advanced search and filtering tools for free. 

There are, however, a few limitations. For one, it won’t be available to independent researchers. According to Twitter, the research API will be limited to Twitter-approved students or “research-focused employees” of academic institutions. Additionally, Twitter only provides historical data for accounts and conversations that are currently viewable on its platform. That means tweets from suspended accounts, or content that’s been removed, won’t be accessible to researchers. This could be a significant hurdle to people studying misinformation, extremism, hate speech, or other areas where content often violates Twitter’s rules.

Ironically, under these restrictions, the better Twitter gets at moderating its platform, the harder it will become for researchers to study its seedier qualities.