Researchers fear what a Musk acquisition might mean for Twitter research data – TechCrunch

A lot has been written about Elon Musk Bid to take over Twitteran effort that remains in place despite significant support from Morgan Stanley and approval from Twitter’s board of directors uncertain status at the moment.

Reporting and pundits have focused on the Impact on Security of the proposed acquisition and Musk’s possible courses of action content moderation and, on a related subject, his understanding of the concept of “speak freely.” But another momentous aspect of the deal has received far less attention: how Twitter’s data access policy for research might change under a Musk regime.

Twitter doesn’t always had a comfortable relationship with researchers. In recent years, however, the social network has made strides in providing access to its archives at a time when rivals have taken over opposite Step. In January 2021, Twitter claimed that academic researchers are one of the largest groups using its API.

Some researchers are concerned that Musk doesn’t share the same commitment to open data access, especially given the acrimony he’s shown in the past about reporting that paints his ventures (including Tesla) in an unflattering light.

So far, Twitter has been unique among the major platforms in how they have made data available to researchers. David G Rand

In 2018, Musk promised to build one — but ultimately didn’t website to assess the “core truth” of articles and journalists in response to reports of Tesla car accidents, Tesla labor issues and its relationship with Wall Street.

Mor Naaman, a professor of information science at Cornell Tech, envisions a future where Musk becomes hostile to researchers who uncover Twitter’s “challenges and shortcomings.”

“I’m pessimistic that Twitter will continue to seek accountability as a private company under Musk,” Naaman, who has worked with Twitter data since 2009, told TechCrunch via email. “I don’t believe the research like we did At [former President Donald Trump’s] Stop the Steal campaign — and the data we’ve collected from Twitter and provided to other researchers, used in 12 different articles since last year — would be allowed under Musk. Second, I can’t imagine internal teams that check the ethics and bias of the company’s systems continue to do well, let alone publish their findings publicly.

“If they continue to publish, these publications will find it much harder to overcome the already existing suspicion of the pro-business bias of platforms that publish their own research.”

Among other things, Musk has said that he plans to defeat “spam bots” on Twitter – apparently in reference to the malicious accounts who parrot misinformation and perpetuate scams. But not all bots are malicious, Orestis Papakyriakopoulos, a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Media Lab, told TechCrunch via email.

Researchers fear what a Musk acquisition might mean for Twitter research data – TechCrunch Source link Researchers fear what a Musk acquisition might mean for Twitter research data – TechCrunch

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