Twitter Helps MIT Study Spread of Information via Social Media

Twitter is investing $10 million in MIT’s Media Lab for research purposes. The company will also provide researchers with the archives of every public tweet, along with the real-time feed. The researchers will attempt to understand how information spreads on social media platforms like Twitter. MIT will use the investment over a five-year period to build tools involving data visualization and mobile apps. This is the first investment that Twitter has made for academic research.

twitter6“The Laboratory for Social Machines will experiment in areas of public communication and social organization where humans and machines collaborate on problems that can’t be solved manually or through automation alone,” said Deb Roy, who will lead the Laboratory for Social Machines, based at MIT’s Media Lab.

MIT aims to discover patterns across different forms of social media, specifically in how people communicate. This will then be used to create technologies that make online civic action more effective.

With 500 million daily tweets, researchers will put their focus on analyzing the data in Twitter’s public content.

“The investment follows on the heels of the Twitter Data Grants program, launched in February,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The program, which gives institutions access to Twitter’s public and historical data, attracted over 1,300 applications. Six institutions were selected in April.”

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