Evolving and expanding social media has spurred the Library of Congress to limit its archiving of tweets.
A statement said the library from 2018 "will continue to acquire tweets but will do so on a very selective basis" adding that the collection will likely be "thematic and event- based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy". "As a result of the review, the Library has determined that its initial Twitter collection will consist of a twelve-year snapshot of the beginning of one of social media's most important and transformative communication tools", it said in a white paper explaining the decision.
The Library of Congress will no longer be vacuuming up all your tweets for historical preservation.
"Now the Library of Congress won't archive every Tweet".
Twitter has since exploded in size (the company went public in November 2013) and so the volume of so-called tweet text flooding into the library's digital archives was growing exponentially, eventually becoming too much. It is the same policy the institution applies to websites, which have naturally exploded in number since they first appeared decades ago.
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Our mission is to collect, preserve, and provide access to creative and historical record of America. In 2010, the institution reached an "exciting and groundbreaking" agreement with Twitter to acquire the text of every public tweet posted from 2006 through April 2010 in a "bold and celebrated" initiative that was praised by researchers.
"As the twelfth year of Twitter draws to a close, the Library has made a decision to change its collection strategy for receipt of tweets on December 31, 2017".
The Library says it plans to continue to preserve and secure its collection of tweet text.
"As the twelfth year of Twitter draws to a close, the Library has chose to change its collection strategy for receipt of tweets on December 31, 2017", the institution announced Tuesday. "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".