Twitter Invests in MIT Lab Focused on Online Social Movements
IDG News Service (10/02/14) John Ribeiro
Twitter is investing $10 million in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM) to develop platforms for online collaboration by people studying civic and political issues. LSM will have access to Twitter’s real-time, public stream of tweets as well as archives that date back to the first tweet on the social network. LSM will examine the potential of social networks “to remake the public sphere” by providing tools for institutions and individuals to collaborate on social problems, according to the MIT Media Lab. MIT researchers will analyze the tweets looking for patterns and links and will use large-scale analysis of content in real-world contexts to investigate the interaction patterns in relevant social systems. In February, Twitter introduced the Twitter Data Grants program, a pilot project that provides tweet data to select research institutions. Under the program, Twitter has supported various projects, such as the surveillance of food-borne gastrointestinal illness using Twitter data and the study of the effectiveness of campaigns on the social network for the early detection of cancer. Twitter wants the MIT researchers to understand how social and political movements are initiated by better understanding how information spreads on Twitter.
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