Twitter opens user archives to companies
From online dispatches
The sentence 'What is Twitter?' is shown on the sign-up page of the microblogging website.Firms that pay a certain fee will be able to sift through tweets dating back to January 2010 to aid in marketing campaigns, BBC reported today.
Companies are already able to search for tweets from the previous 30 days, while regular users can see tweets from the past seven days.
U.K.-based Datasift struck a licensing deal with Twitter to become the first company to offer the archives to companies. Datasift's entry-level package costs $1,000 per month and "almost 1,000 companies [have] already joined a waiting list to access the archive," BBC said.
Tim Barker from Datasift said he saw the service as more of a technological challenge "because of the amount of data that is pumped out every single day." He said Twitter takes in around 250 million tweets in 24 hours, "all of which are analyzed for content – such as whether they were said in a positive or negative tone."
Private accounts and tweets that were deleted will not be indexed, the report added.
‘Twitter has become a market-research enterprise’
The move has caused a furor among online privacy advocates, however.
"People have historically used Twitter to communicate with friends and networks in the belief that their tweets will quickly disappear into the ether,” said Privacy International Executive Director Gus Hosein.
"Twitter has turned a social network that was meant to promote real-time global conversation into a vast market-research enterprise with unwilling, unpaid participants," he said.
Online rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, meanwhile, described the new service as "creepy."