Public tweets will no longer be collected and archived by Library of Congress


On Tuesday, the Library of Congress announced it will no longer archive every tweet posted publicly on Twitter.

In 2010, the library reached an agreement with with the social media giant to acquire the text of every public tweet posted. However, it will now only collect posts on a “selective basis.” The shift in allocation is due to Twitter’s recent decision to double the character limit on tweets to 280. The increasing use of images and videos in tweets also contributed to the shift.

“The Library generally does not collect comprehensively,” a released white paper stated. “Given the unknown direction of social media when the gift was first planned, the Library made an exception for public tweets. With social media now established, the Library is bringing its collecting practice more in line with its collection policies.”

The report did not specify how it will select tweets to archive, but it said that in general “the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.”

The change will go into effect on Dec. 31, and the library will still hold on to its archive of every public tweet posted during the first 12 years of Twitter’s existence. As of now, public access to the collection is not permitted.

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