The Library of Congress announced that it will no longer archive every tweet, according to a statement released Tuesday.
Since 2010, the Library of Congress has kept an archive of all public tweets, beginning with the first tweet in 2006. The archive was created to preserve the records, but due to the drastic changes in social media throughout the past 12 years, the library announced that it will stop the practice.
Update on the Twitter archive at the Library of Congress: https://t.co/incuC1RL0n
— Library of Congress (@librarycongress) December 26, 2017
“The Library took this step for the same reason it collects other materials – to acquire and preserve a record of knowledge and creativity for Congress and the American people. The initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities,” the library’s statement reads. “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.”
The Library of Congress said it would continue to save some tweets, but only on a “selective basis,” and were not specific as to what tweets it believes are important enough to archive. The decision was said to have been made in a review.
“Today, we announce a change in collections practice for Twitter. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the Library will acquire tweets on a selective basis—similar to our collections of web sites,” the statement reads. “The Library regularly reviews its collections practices to account for environmental shifts, diversity of collections and topics, cost effectiveness, use of collections and other factors. This change results from such a review.”
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