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Library Of Congress Will No Longer Archive Every Tweet

Library Of Congress Will No Longer Archive Every Tweet

Library Of Congress Will No Longer Archive Every Tweet

"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.

The Library of Congress revealed in a blog post that its decision to be selective was due to the evolution of the social media landscape, with new platforms, an explosion in use, terms of service and functionality shifting frequently and lessons learned about privacy and other concerns.

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

Twitter has changed substantially since it first partnered with the country's oldest cultural institution, however, and the Library of Congress said it no longer sees a need for archiving each and every one of the throngs of public tweets posted daily. There are an average 200 billion tweets sent each year, according to tracking site Internet Live Stats. Twitter has changed - more picture- and video-based communication (LOC only collects text) and the rollout of 280 character tweets are just two examples of what's evolved over the past 12 years.

"With social media now established, the library is bringing its collecting practice more in line with its collection policies", it said in the document. Having all tweets also captures the response of average people to historic events; the white paper points to the collection of recordings of interviews made in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack as being similarly valuable.

The Library only receives text from tweets - not images or videos or links. We now have an archive of approximately 170 billion tweets and growing.

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The Library's Twitter archive is not yet available to the public.

"Three priorities have guided the Library's work to provide access to the Twitter collection: respect the intent of the producers of the content; honor donor (Twitter) access requirements; and manage taxpayer-provided resources wisely", it explained.

These complications affected public access to the archive.

The change will go into effect beginning January 1, 2018.

Going forward, the library says it will focus on preserving the enormous collection of tweets that it has already amassed: a sort of oral history of the social media era. Which sounds more like Twitter's Moments feature. "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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