Twitter Developer Feedback

Twitter for Academic Research

As we plan for the future of our developer platform we want to learn more from our academic community. What tools and resources would make it easier for you to conduct research with Twitter data, and what should we consider building?

  1. See what other ideas have been submitted and vote for ideas you like.
  2. If you have an idea that isn't already listed, create a new post.
  3. Include only one idea per post.

To start, we have added in a few ideas that have been suggested by developers in the past. Please vote or comment on those, if they reflect your own vision.

Thank you for participating!


  1. Twitter Engagement

    Currently, the Twitter API allows one to capture data on the number of likes, retweets, and replies for each tweet. However, this does not represent total engagement as it is missing data such as link clicks, profile clicks, detail expands, etc.

    In order for researchers to understand what tweets gain most engagement, it is crucial to get the 'Total Engagement' data and impressions data for each tweet. This will help researchers understand specifically what type of content gets the highest engagement and accordingly tailor health messages.

    14 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Additional data types  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  2. Understanding best practices for using Twitter data for research

    I would like to use Twitter data as a referenced source for my research, however I don't know the guidelines and best practices for making sure I'm getting a reliable result or signal. Please give me a process to follow for ensuring I'm getting what I need.

    14 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Documentation & Resources  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  3. transparency uk

    Ad Transparency API extended to the UK. The UK is currently in the grip of political populist turmoil that seeks to dismantle key pillars of our liberal parliamentary Democracy. A General Election is imminent in the Autumn of 2019. We need to have access to Political Ad data via API so we can track spending across Social Media Platforms and hold the creatives of these Ads to account.

    9 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  1 comment  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  4. Additional URL metadata

    Having the title, description or other URL specific metadata for links shared in Tweets would be helpful for additional signal.

    11 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  1 comment  ·  Additional data types  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  5. Twitter Trends API

    Many common research use-cases would be greatly facilitated by an API that could return summary level information. For instance, for any subset of tweets based on a particular query term(s) and period:


    • hourly/daily/weekly counts of matching tweets


    • histogram data of top hashtags / handles referenced / links shared


    • proportion of retweets / replies / first posts


    • proportion of dataset generated by top n contributors


    These would be very valuable from a purely research perspective, but presumably they present considerable challenges for implementation. But a methodology similar to Google Trends might be possible.

    10 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  1 comment  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  6. Retrieve random tweet from the index (new API call)

    Deploy a new API call to retrieve a random tweet from the index. Would be an important asset for characterization studies.

    8 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  3 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  7. Build a replication database for Twitter studies

    Build infrastructure for researchers to store their data collection and analysis code to allow better replication of existing studies. So a database with "here's the published paper" and "here's the code we used for data collection and analysis".

    Firs,t this would serve as a place for documentation and help on many methodological choices. Second, it might encourage large-scale replication studies, exploring how solid are some results emerging from Twitter data.

    10 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Documentation & Resources  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  8. Bring back the Streaming APIs

    Streaming was a VERY good+easy way to get low key sampling data, without digging into heavy duty "last x million tweets" data dumps. A couple of lines of code (ie minimum wasted researcher time) and you could start collecting/analysing data.

    It is very much missed.

    Not to mention, of course, the damage removing streaming has done to the general Twitter ecosystem: http://apps-of-a-feather.com/

    6 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  3 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  9. We need an API to validate our bot/troll detection techniques.

    What I would like is the ability to use an API to alert Twitter to the presence of malicious actors interfering in elections. Ideally, it would be process whereby we crowd source and gamify the detection pieces, with Twitter's decision to suspend (or not) as the ultimate validation determining who is best at the game.

    Recently, I sent 500 Canadian election Twitter IDs our model saw as bots/automated to a third party scholar: Kurt Wirth <kurtawirth@gmail.com>. I asked him if I could share his response to what I sent, he said yes. His response is below:

    ---------- Forwarded…

    5 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  10. Advertisement API

    Access data about ads, reach, accounts promoted by, engagements.

    6 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  2 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  11. Offer a limited number of free survey invitations

    Twitter has a useful survey feature that users can pay for to invite users to complete surveys. It would be very helpful if Twitter could offer a limited number of free survey invitations to academics. Academics could apply by preparing the survey and specifying the kinds of samples they would like to invite, as well as outlining the rationale for the study.

    8 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Additional data types  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  12. Document the filtering rules for the search API

    The freely available search API would be a great tool for research, but given that not all tweets are included (even in the ~7 day window), it can rule out certain types of studies, because it is not clear whether or how the search indexing rules might bias the sample.

    To address this for academic research it would be great if the rules and approach for what is not indexed and why it is not indexed were clearly documented in a way that researchers could make decisions about appropriateness for their work.

    7 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Documentation & Resources  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  13. Twitter "data library"

    Idea: The content of the Twitter "data library” to provide data about topics in high demand among researchers and enables to assess a variety of subtopics.

    Example: I’m studying about tweets of an election to understand the population and presidential candidate sentiment on green card and public assistance. My first stab API query would be “election”, “green card”, and “welfare”. The larger topic here would be the US Presidential Election. Instead of posting the specific API request, the Twitter "data library” (hypothetically) would already have a substantially sized dataset of all the tweets related to the US Presidential Election.

    Even…

    5 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Additional data types  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  14. Graph queries for Twitter

    I (and hundreds of other academics) spend a lot of time grabbing tweets and making graphs/networks out of them using things like Neo4j & Cytoscape or Gephi. It would be nice if we could do graph queries directly & it would probably lower some of the query demand on Twitter, if we didn't have to grab all the data to make the graphs ourselves.

    6 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  15. Twitter's Platform and Policy Change Log

    Knowing when the User Interface (ie Feature Addition/removal), Policy adjustments (curation, etc), interaction options (SMS, Web, App etc) and other events (ie mass bot removal) occur with the platform doing any type of analysis can be affected if they intersect with an analysis. Having access to a log of when these changes roll out and are implemented would help with narrowing down possible affect on our research.

    4 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Additional data types  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  16. Twitter-curated topics

    This falls as a more-involved way for Twitter as a cooperation to support academic research on its platform (rather than just extending API limits for .edu emails etc..) but one avenue for very supportive, engaged involvement would be curation and publication of topics.

    That is to say, imagine Twitter itself publishes corpora of tweet IDs corresponding to major events like natural disasters, political events, etc... This creates a streamlined way for those studying the social dynamics surrounding major events to implement real-time study of ongoing events, and broaden the scope of existing analyses.

    Currently, the study of past events relies…

    5 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  General features  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  17. Consider Different Automated Account Regulation for Academics Running Studies with Bost

    Bot-based research is an important frontier in several different academic fields, but post requests are often censored or accounts associated with such posts are often suspended-- even if they do not seem to violate Twitter's automated account policies. Perhaps there could be a mechanism where academics could petition twitter not to censor bots that are being used for academic research (assuming, very importantly, that they have been carefully vetted by IRB and/or ethics officers within Twitter)?

    5 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  18. Topic annotations

    The data available in the API would be more valuable if there were additional signals about the topics a Tweet is about.

    5 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Additional data types  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  19. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliante stream

    Doing research in europe is becoming harder, and GDPR add some difficult on exploiting data. I would like to know if data that we can get with the Stream API can be Anonymized.

    4 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  20. Extract data without writing code

    I'd like to directly access Twitter data without needing to write code to collect data from the API.

    5 votes
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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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