Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Kara Alaimo

Twitter’s Misguided Barriers for Researchers

Access to a full range of tweets on some subjects is increasingly difficult and expensive.

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey says the platform is a “public space.”

Twitter’s Jack Dorsey says the platform is a “public space.”

Source: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

Last month, Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, told the Senate Intelligence Committee he believes “the people use Twitter as they would a public square and they often have the same expectations that they would have of any public space.”

But for all his vows of openness, the platform is making it increasingly difficult and expensive for academics to access tweets to research important questions from how information about diseases like Zika spread to how social movements like Black Lives Matter work to how social media can be used to promote democracy.