The Library of Congress Will No Longer Archive Every Tweet

The Library of Congress Will No Longer Archive Every Tweet

"The initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities", the blog post says.

In their white paper, the Library of Congress claimed that several factors contributed to their decision to end the mass archiving. It will, instead, collect them on a "very selective basis". "It does not receive images, videos or linked content. Tweets now are often more visual than textual, limiting the value of text-only collecting".

The Twitter collection will remain embargoed until access issues can be resolved in a cost-effective and sustainable manner. Noting that Twitter initially gifted it the first four years of tweets from 2006 to 2010, the Library of Congress also acknowledged "an explosion in use" of social media over the past 12 years. The explanations given by the Library of Congress, however, are much more straightforward and general than that.

The nation's oldest federal cultural institution has digitally stored every public post shared on Twitter since the social media platform's inception in 2006.

The LOC did not offer specific details regarding the selection of the tweets for the archive moving forward.

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Deciding what pieces of the internet to archive has been an ongoing project and debate for the Library of Congress.

"The Twitter Archive may prove", it continues, "to be one of this generation's most significant legacies to future generations. In 40 years, I want to take my granddaughter to the Library of Congress and show her the madness I dealt with as a journalist...make every tweet count". But the Library of Congress will stop archiving every tweet on December 31, 2017.

The decision comes as Twitter continues to face flak over its vague policies in its battle to curb abuse, online harassment, trolls and illegal activity on its platform. The institution is also working with Twitter on how to handle public tweets that were later deleted.

In a white paper released on Tuesday, the Library of Congress indicated that the growing volume of tweets had become too overwhelming to store.

Nevertheless, the library's existing collection offers a "snapshot" of a unique moment in history, it said.

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