Library of Congress Says It Will No Longer Archive Every Public Tweet

Main reading room at the Library of Congress Washington D.C

"The nature of Twitter has changed over time", they argued, adding that, "The volume of tweets and related transactions has evolved and increased dramatically since the initial agreement was signed", and that "The Library only receives text. In 40 years, I want to take my granddaughter to the Library of Congress and show her the madness I dealt with as a journalist...make every tweet count".

This won't really change anything as far as your ability to peruse a massive, comprehensive Twitter archive, to be clear, because that ability has never materialized.

"The Twitter Archive may prove to be one of this generation's most significant legacies to future generations", the Library of Congress said. A white paper published this month provides an update on the decade long archive, announcing its end.

"The initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities", the blog post says.

In the years since, the social media landscape has changed significantly, with new platforms, an explosion in use, terms of service and functionality shifting frequently and lessons learned about privacy and other concerns... The archive itself spans a 12-year period that traces back to when Twitter first came online in 2006. In the future, the institution will narrow its focus to collecting tweets tied to major historical events such as elections or national matters of public policy.

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The Library of Congress is ending its practice of archiving every single public Twitter post after accumulating billions of tweets covering the platform's first dozen years of existence. "There is no projected timetable for providing public access at this time".

The Library's halt on collection of all tweets puts Twitter more in line with the way that other digital collections are archived, including websites.

It also wrote: "Throughout its history, the Library has seized opportunities to collect snapshots of unique moments in human history and preserve them for future generations". The institution is also working with Twitter on how to handle public tweets that were later deleted.

So when will future historians get to dig into the vast Twitter archive now being held by the United States government?

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