Twitter, still run by Elon Musk, is still looking for a way to make money. He recently cut all companies off the free API and is now demanding draconian royalties from scientists who use Twitter for research.
For years, scientists around the world have used data collected and freely shared by Twitter. Information from a major social media platform was used to conduct dozens of studies… until big changes came under the dictation of Elon Musk.
Twitter makes scientists pay exorbitant amounts for data
Twitter’s new idea is paid access to data from the so-called API – an application programming interface. This allows for bulk data collection, for example. from user records. However, previously free information has recently become expensive. Currently, those who wish must purchase the appropriate subscription. This one costs between $100 and… $42,000 a month.
According to the company, the use of data for scientific purposes should be associated with the purchase of an enterprise subscription, which is the most expensive option at $42,000. This means multi-person research teams are required to pay the same as global corporations such as Facebook, Meta or Microsoft.
Interestingly, Musk is offering startups a fraction of that price because they only have to pay $5,000 per month.
Scientists excluded from Twitter – Elon Musk counts money
Obviously, such expenses are beyond the means of most universities in the world, let alone smaller research units or grant-receiving teams.
As if that wasn’t enough, scientists who have previously taken advantage of the API have also received messages from Twitter that are beginning to sound like threats. If researchers don’t purchase the package by the end of the month, not only will they lose access to the API, but it’s not over yet.
They must additionally delete the previously downloaded data and … present evidence. Twitter expects them to provide screenshots confirming “deletion of all company data stored on servers.”
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