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. 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…

    44 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  5 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  2. Require Statement of Ethics from Academics

    Academic researchers should have to submit a statement of ethics declaring their work with Twitter data will not be harmful to oppressed and marginalized people, who are disproportionately harmed by unethical data research practices. Twitter should also make the statements available to the wider community so other folks can learn from them or get ideas for modeling their own statements.

    28 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  1 comment  ·  General features  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  3. Twitter Fellowship Program

    In order to increase the engagement of Twitter with academic community, a fellowship program could be a valuable strategy. Basically what a I propose is that Twitter can have a program in which invites researches and academics to submit project ideas using the Twitter Data. Twitter will be then select the best ones to provide support (giving exclusive data access, internships, scholarships for PhD students, etc) in the areas required by the project. This of course can be (please!!!) a parallel initiative to the expansion of access for academic purposes. This is not a new idea. Facebook already have something…

    26 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  General features  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  4. Twitter Archive Download

    At the moment there appear to be two archive downloads. One from the Account page and another from the Your Twitter Data page. The first comes as a zip file with a nice index.html viewer. The second includes a lot more data but lacks a viewer. It would be useful if these options were combined into a single archive download that contains a usable viewer for the complete data.

    This is important for archives that would like to accept snapshots of user's social media content for preservation and research.

    25 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  3 comments  ·  General features  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  5. 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…

    24 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  4 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  6. A more transparent application process, with the option for appeal

    Currently, the Twitter Developer application process can result in an application being rejected without explanation, with no option for appeal or reapplication from the same Twitter account. Being more transparent about the reasons for rejection, as well as allowing people to appeal or reapply, is likely to lead to more clarity on the actual rules of the Twitter Developer application process as well as healthier community engagement.

    22 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  1 comment  ·  General features  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  7. 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.

    19 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  APIs & Tools  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  8. Give access to the search query log

    Important data to understand user intentions and information needs.

    19 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  3 comments  ·  Additional data types  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  9. Location Data

    A lot of researchers in the health field utilize location data to understand trends within a defined area. This is important when studying twitter data in relation to epidemics. However, it seems currently it's not possible to access geo-location data thus hindering this process.

    Kindly add geo-location data to the Twitter API

    18 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  3 comments  ·  Additional data types  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  10. 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 →
  11. 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.

    12 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Documentation & Resources  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  12. 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 →
  13. 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 →
  14. 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 →
  15. 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 →
  16. 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 →
  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)?

    7 votes

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

    7 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  19. 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…

    6 votes

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    acknowledged  ·  0 comments  ·  Additional data types  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
  20. 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 →
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