Twitter: Embracing Management Maturity?

January 20, 2020

Twitter has a new initiative in 2020 to keep academic researchers honest, although it is not advertised in that manner. TechCrunch shares the details in the article, “Twitter Offers More Support To Researchers-To ‘Keep Us Accountable.’” Twitter’s new support for academic researchers is a new hub called “Twitter Data for Academic Researchers” and it has easier access to Twitter’s information and support about its APIs. Within the hub, one can apply for a developer account, links for researcher tools, and information about the APIs Twitter offers.

Twitter apparently added the Twitter Data for Academic Researchers hub this year based off researchers’ demands. The social media platform states they want to encourage communication and offer more support between developers. One reason Twitter wants more transparency and easier communication with its developers is due to the United States’s 2020 presidential election. Twitter, like most social media platforms, wants to cut down the number of bots and/or false news reports that effected the 2016 election. There is also the need to tamper down these accounts on a regular basis:

“Tracking conversation flow on Twitter also still means playing a game of ‘bot or not’ — one that has major implications for the health of democracies. And in Europe Twitter is one of a number of platform giants which, in 2018, signed up to a voluntary Code of Practice on disinformation that commits it to addressing fake accounts and online bots, as well as to empowering the research community to monitor online disinformation via “privacy-compliant” access to platform data.”

Twitter wants to support its developer community, but the transparency also makes it easier for Twitter to hold people responsible for their actions. They are keeping tabs on how their technology is used, while also assisting developers with their work. It is a great idea and if trouble arises, it might make it easier to track down the bad actors who started the mess. It is also another score for Twitter, because Facebook does not support academics well. Facebook has altered its APIs for researchers and Facebook does not want to stop false information spreading.

Whitney Grace, January 20, 2020

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