Musk’s Twitter wants academics to delete data in “book burning” scheme

Joel Loynds
elon musk in front of an ai generated image of a server room on fire, with the twitter logo in the background

Elon Musk’s reign at Twitter has seen access to the data side of the company’s service effectively eliminated. Now, Twitter wants academics to delete any data or cough up the cash.

The choices of Elon Musk’s reign at Twitter have seen multiple outages, glitches, and the effective elimination of its data access through APIs. After cutting out researchers from a free API protocol that would allow them to investigate the platform, Twitter now charges $42,000 a month for the privilege.

In a report from i News, researchers claim that Twitter’s move is “the big data equivalent of book burning”. The demands from Twitter are either to pay for access or delete all the data acquired from previous agreements.

The original API protocol used would give researchers unfettered access to 10% of every tweet made, but under Musk’s rule, it has been reduced to 0.3%. If a new contract isn’t signed, they’ll be forced to “expunge all Twitter data stored and cached in your systems.”

Twitter’s way to verify this is to ask for screenshots of removal. While deletion was a requirement in the contracts signed initially under Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal’s stints as CEOs, Twitter has begun to crack down on any and all free access to its data.

Twitter tries to scrape cash from previous free systems

Twitter loading screen on mobile device

This cost-prohibited access hasn’t just stopped researchers from gaining vital information about the platform but also stopped many services. This includes automated alerts relating to the weather, public transport, and even apps like IFTTT.

Meanwhile, Twitter appears to be trying to find any and all ways to fund itself. This includes Twitter Blue, which has been reported to see significantly fewer users remaining subscribed after verification was taken away. Musk has admitted he’s paying for certain celebrity’s checkmarks, too.

The company has seen several high-profile instances of turbulence since Elon Musk took over. His master plan to turn the network into a central “town square” backfired last night. Twitter Spaces, its audio discussion forum, crashed when traffic to Ron DeSantis spiked, causing some confusion to onlookers.

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E-Commerce Editor. You can get in touch with him over email: He's written extensively about video games and tech for over a decade for various sites. Previously seen on Scan, WePC, PCGuide, Eurogamer, Digital Foundry and A deep love for old tech, bad games and even jankier MTG decks.