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!


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  1. Add an API to retrieve Tweet threads

    I request the Twitter to allow access to all the replies of a tweet (all the conversations of a thread). It would be very useful for academics working in user behavior analysis, argumentation mining, hate speech detection because comment or reply reflects the actual thought process of a replying user.

    57 votes

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    4 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  2. Informed Consent API

    Implement an API / Bulk access call to notify users that their tweets were / are used in a study, with the option to opt-out, or opt-in to more information from the researcher. Maybe a DM with links to IRB / Home Institution / Researcher contact details?

    Ideally, i'd like to notify and ask permission from people - in the past, i've implemented this as a Twitter list, adding people to give them some notification - but this doesn't give people an easy opt-out.

    Given the number of times data is used, maybe an equivalent to the list of advertisers…

    46 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  5 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  3. Predefined datasets

    I'd like access to predefined datasets that provide ideas for my research and make it easy to get started.

    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…

    25 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  4 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  4. Nominate non-profit intermediaries for Firehose and other complete data APIs

    Take part in Social Science One (https://socialscience.one/ ) and/or work with other non-profit intermediaries such as academic libraries and data providers (for example GESIS in Germany) for Firehose access or access to the complete follow network or other large scale data. They have the most experience when it comes to researchers' needs and can act as a trustworthy partner when it comes to protecting user privacy and the like.

    21 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  5. New endpoint for detecting whether tweets are still live

    If you have a large collection of tweets it can be unwieldy to use the API to detect which tweets have been deleted - beyond complying with Twitter's own terms of service this is also necessary to respect a users agency over their own content. When a tweet or tweets are no longer available can also have an impact on what and how the results of academic research can be reported.

    When sharing a dataset of tweet ids, you can also spend a lot of time trying to hydrate tweets that have mostly been deleted.

    It would significantly simplify this…

    20 votes

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    planned  ·  4 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  6. Allow API access to tweets from suspended accounts

    For research focused on still-existing troll farms, it's critical to have access to tweets of accounts Twitter already suspended.

    As troll farms:
    1) are highly skillful in pushing legit users to breaking Twitter rules (and therefore to become suspended)
    2) frequently experience suspension of their own accounts
    3) when creating new accounts, tend to refer to their previous accounts to easier regain followership

    Currently, conversations with heavy involvement of troll farm accounts look like this:
    https://twitter.com/pj1m6y2z1fmwdn7/status/1151811700557045761

    This Tweet is from a suspended account. Learn more
    This Tweet is from a suspended account. Learn more
    (single live tweet)
    This Tweet is…

    17 votes

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    started  ·  4 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  7. 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.

    12 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  1 comment  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  8. Provide a way to retrieve quote tweets

    If I have a set of tweet IDs, I do not believe there is a natural way of collecting quote tweets of those tweets using the Twitter API v1 or v2. This limits the ability of me and other researchers to fully study things like political dialogue, polarization, and interactions with political elites.

    I believe it may be possible to retrieve quote tweets by searching tweet text for mentions of the tweet IDs, since quote retweets technically contain a URL pointing back to the quoted tweet. However, I do not think that is obvious to many API users, even if…

    9 votes

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    0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  9. 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.

    9 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  3 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  10. Allow academic research on deleted tweets/ suspended accounts

    Twitter’s terms of service requires us to delete tweets we have collected when they are removed from Twitter. This makes academic research on certain topics practically impossible, as continually monitoring whether a tweet is still present is unfeasible, and much time could be spent on research that would to be have to have to be abandoned because using the data would violate Twitter’s terms of service. Could an exception requiring the deletion of tweets to the terms of service be made for academic research?

    8 votes

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    1 comment  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  11. Allow access to the "friends" of suspended accounts

    I would like to study who networks of bots tend to follow, but since they are quickly suspended this data doesn't seem to be available anywhere.

    7 votes

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    0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  12. 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…

    7 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  13. 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/

    7 votes

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    3 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  14. 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)?

    7 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  15. 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 →
  16. Allow researchers to have more than one academic research project in progress at a time

    Academic researchers often have multiple projects in development at one time, often surrounding the same topic and/or use case. Allowing researchers to have multiple research projects at once or to close out their single project and apply for a new one would help researchers to harness Twitter's data and derive insights more efficiently.

    5 votes

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    2 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  17. Historically Accurate Friend, Follower, Status Count

    It is often useful to know when an account gains new followers or followers new accounts. If a researcher queries a user, Twitter returns the number of followers or friends at the time of the query. That makes sense. If, however, I query a tweet, such as by asking for a user's 3200 most recent tweets, each of those tweets will show me the number of followers , friends, or tweets at the time of my query, not the time of the tweet authorship. The only way to get the true number of followers, friends, or statuses when a tweet…

    5 votes

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    0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  18. 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.

    5 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  19. 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 →
  20. Make Twitter Labels visible in JSON payload

    Twitter has launched some labels for Tweets that contain misleading information. For example, under those suspicious tweets, a label named as "Get the facts about.." will show up. However, these labels are not visible in the current json file. These labels are actually pretty interesting and valuable features because we can study the impact of it on the cascade of the misleading information, which will contribute to the current information cascading literature.

    2 votes

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    1 comment  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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