The Library of Congress to stop archiving all tweets from 2018

Adjust Comment Print

It cited the much larger volume of tweets generated now, as well as Twitter's decision to double the character limit from 140 to 280. "After this time, the Library will continue to acquire tweets but will do so on a very selective basis under the overall guidance provided in the Library's Collections Policy Statements and associated documents", they explained. Reaching out as far back as 2006 to retroactively incorporate older messages.

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

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... Instead, the organisation will only collect tweets that it deems historically significant.

"Tweets now are often more visual than textual, limiting the value of text-only collecting", the institution said.

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.

Trump fumes over Russian Federation dossier: 'Crooked Hillary pile of garbage'
BuzzFeed News published the controversial dossier in January, which includes many salacious claims that have not been verified. As Newsweek pointed out, the president also addressed his tweet to a bogus Fox & Friends Twitter account.

The archive "will remain embargoed until access issues can be resolved in a cost-effective and sustainable manner", Osterberg said.

"With social media now established, the Library is bringing its collecting practice more in line with its collection policies", it said in the document. But the Library of Congress will stop archiving every tweet on December 31, 2017.

Nevertheless, the library's existing collection offers a "snapshot" of a unique moment in history, it said.

So when will future historians get to dig into the vast Twitter archive now being held by the USA government? "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".