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Scientists can no longer use Twitter for academic research...




From an article on The Verge:
'Twitter was once a mainstay of academic research — a way to take the pulse of the internet. But as new owner Elon Musk has attempted to monetize the service, researchers are struggling to replace a once-crucial tool. Unless Twitter makes another about-face soon, it could close the chapter on an entire era of research.'

“Research using social media data, it was mostly Twitter-ology,” says Gordon Pennycook, an associate professor of behavioral science at the University of Regina. “It was the primary source that people were using,”



Until Musk’s takeover, Twitter’s API — which allows third-party developers to gather data — was considered one of the best on the internet. It enabled studies into everything from how people respond to weather disasters to how to stop misinformation from spreading online. The problems they addressed are only getting worse, making this kind of research just as important as ever. But Twitter decided to end free access to its API in February and launched paid tiers in March. The company said it was “looking at new ways to continue serving” academia but nevertheless started unceremoniously cutting off access to third-party users who didn’t pay. While the cutoff caused problems for many different kinds of users, including public transit agencies and emergency responders, academics are among the groups hit the hardest.



'Researchers who’ve relied on Twitter for years tell The Verge they’ve had to stop using it. It’s just too expensive to pay for access to its API, which has reportedly skyrocketed to $42,000 a month or more for an enterprise account. Scientists have lost a key vantage point into human behavior as a result. And while they’re scrambling to find new sources, there’s no clear alternative yet.

Twitter gave researchers a way to observe people’s real reactions instead of having to ask study participants how they think they might react in certain scenarios. That’s been crucial for Pennycook’s research into strategies to prevent misinformation from fomenting online, for instance, by showing people content that asks them to think about accuracy before sharing a link.'



Without being able to see what an individual actually tweets, researchers like Pennycook might be limited to asking someone in a survey what kind of content they would share on social media. “It’s basically hypothetical,” says Pennycook. “For tech companies who would actually be able to implement one of these interventions, they would not be impressed by that ... We had to do experiments somewhere to show that it actually can work in the wild.”



I have certain doubts about researches if they are based on twitter data i.e. normie-net and botnet.