Does The Library Of Congress Save Every Tweet? Not Anymore - Here's Why

US Library of Congress Ends Twitter Archiving Project

1, 2018, the Library will only acquire tweets "on a very selective basis", a white paper published this month makes clear. First and foremost from a collection perspective: the sheer number of tweets.

But the Library gave several reasons, including the "explosion in use", changes to terms and services, and modifications in functionality for why the agreement with Twitter was being altered.

The Library further mentioned in its white paper that it will focus its efforts on preserving the Twitter collection for future generations.

On Tuesday, the federal research library said it's ending the practice of collecting all public tweets made over the platform. Instead, the organisation will only collect tweets that it deems historically significant. Now, however, that's apparently going to change ― the Library of Congress won't be archiving all tweets anymore, leaving some people wondering and speculating about what's behind the decision. "The Library will also engage with Twitter to resolve issues associated with managing transactions that generate deletions of tweets, and user access issues".

US Library of Congress Ends Twitter Archiving Project
The Library of Congress Is Giving Up on Collecting Every Useless Public Tweet

In a press release, the library said Tuesday that "the nature of Twitter has changed" and cited Twitter's new 280-character limit, an increased frequency of tweeting, and the rise of non-text tweets to conclude that almost 12 years of tweets - from Twitter's inception in 2006 until the end of 2017 - is more than enough for future scholars to pore through. It even retroactively acquired all tweets dating back to 2006. The explanations given by the Library of Congress, however, are much more straightforward and general than that.

Deciding what pieces of the internet to archive has been an ongoing project and debate for the Library of Congress.

Nevertheless, the library's existing collection offers a "snapshot" of a unique moment in history, it said. The company has also continued to receive criticism over its approach to US President Donald Trump's often controversial tweets and its decision not to take them down in the public interest. "Future generations will learn much about this rich period in our history, the information flows, and social and political forces that help define the current generation".

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