Library of Congress will no longer archive every tweet

Twitter Is Too Big For The Library Of Congress To Archive

1, 2018, the Library will only acquire tweets "on a very selective basis", a white paper published this month makes clear.

The Library of Congress also noted that many tweets include photos and video and that it has only been collecting text, making some of its collection worthless.

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. There are an average 200 billion tweets sent each year, according to tracking site Internet Live Stats. Even back then, creating this archive was an huge task, and as Twitter has grown and changed, it became more and more unfeasible. 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.

Jennifer Grygiel, communications professor at Syracuse University, said the move was disappointing from an institution "which is perceived to be the greatest library and archive in our country". The social media company's controversial change to allow 280 character tweets.

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From December 31, the Library of Congress will no longer archive all posts but will still collect tweets deemed historically significant.

"The Library generally does not collect comprehensively".

The library's initial decision to collect everything that's public was an attempt to create a "snapshot" of the early stages of "one of social media's most important and transformative communication tools".

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

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The news sparked a reaction on Twitter itself, with some people speculating that the quality or content of tweets over time played a role. But the Library sees its collection effort as a success that will prove invaluable to the people of tomorrow.

Twitter has gone from processing about 5,000 tweets a day in 2007, to more than 50 million tweets daily when it partnered with the Library of Congress in 2010.

The part left unstated? Wouldn't that be something.

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