December 28, 2017
The U.S. Library of Congress is giving up on Twitter — sort of.
The Library has announced its decision to stop collecting all public tweets as of Dec. 31.
“After this time, the Library will continue to acquire tweets but will do so on a very selective basis,” the Library said in a blog post.
That means the organization will be going back to its usual practice of saving only historically significant content — in this case, tweets that are thematic and event-based or those that are of “ongoing national interest.”
The organization has amassed all public tweets since 2006, the year Twitter was born. And with more than 500 million tweets surfacing in Twitter’s public feed each day, archiving was no small task.
But that task has gotten harder since Twitter began permitting 280-character tweets. Also, when tweets include photos or videos, that does not show up in the archive, making some of those tweets difficult to understand.
Although the Library of Congress is significantly scaling back its efforts, the organization said its comprehensive tweet collection was not time wasted.
“The Twitter Archive may prove to be one of this generation’s most significant legacies to future generations,” the Library blog post reads. “Future generations will learn much about this rich period in our history, the information flows, and social and political forces that help define the current generation.”