Skip to content

Researchers scramble as Twitter plans to end free data access

People in this story

Nature, February 2023

Akin Ünver has been using Twitter data for years. He investigates some of the biggest issues in social science, including political polarization, fake news and online extremism. But earlier this month, he had to set aside time to focus on a pressing emergency: helping relief efforts in Turkey and Syria after the devastating earthquake on 6 February.

Aid workers in the region have been racing to rescue people trapped by debris and to provide health care and supplies to those displaced by the tragedy. Twitter has been invaluable for collecting real-time data and generating crucial maps to direct the response, says Ünver, a computational social scientist at Özyeğin University in Istanbul.

So when he heard that Twitter was about to end its policy of providing free access to its application programming interface (API) — a pivotal set of rules that allows people to extract and process large amounts of data from the platform — he was dismayed. “Couldn’t come at a worse time,” he tweeted. “Most analysts and programmers that are building apps and functions for Turkey earthquake aid and relief, and are literally saving lives, are reliant on Twitter API.”

Continue reading at Nature.

More Stories

Bioreactors that host algae.

To help with climate change, carbon capture will have to evolve

Student Minister Randy Muhammad, from Muhammad Mosque Number 11, gave a prayer during a community walk against violence with police officials including Commissioner Michael Cox at Harambee Park playground.

In Boston, peace and anxious hope as gun violence plunges

Anti-abortion activists.

Republicans’ abortion platform is more “wink and a nod” than clear policy

All Stories