Twitter to give all tweets, $10 million to new MIT social media lab

Twitter has partnered with MIT on a new social media lab.
(Leon Neal / AFP Getty Images)

Twitter is spending $10 million over five years to fund the creation of an MIT lab intended to study social media and develop new technologies that make sense of digital content.

The MIT Media Lab announced the creation of the new lab, called the Laboratory for Social Machines, this week. As part of the program, Twitter will also provide full access to its real-time, public stream of tweets, as well as the archive of every tweet dating to the very first one.

MIT said data scientists would examine social media patterns and data, and would use its findings to develop tools and mobile apps that will enable new forms of communication.

“A main goal for the LSM will be to create new platforms for both individuals and institutions to identify, discuss and act on pressing societal problems,” MIT said in a statement.


The university said that although the lab will be funded by Twitter, it will have complete operational and academic independence. Students and staff will work across many social media and mass media platforms not limited to Twitter.

“With this investment, Twitter is seizing the opportunity to go deeper into research to understand the role Twitter and other platforms play in the way people communicate, the effect that rapid and fluid communication can have and apply those findings to complex societal issues,” Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo said in a statement.

Twitter has been getting more involved with universities. In April, the San Francisco company announced it would give its public and historical data to six research institutions, including Harvard and UCSD, after receiving more than 1,300 proposals.

Twitter: @byandreachang