Earlier this year, Twitter launched the Twitter Moderation Research Consortium (TMRC), a group of experts from across academia, civil society, nongovernmental organizations, and journalism dedicated to studying Twitter’s platform governance issues.
Membership in the TMRC, which was previously restricted to select trust partners, is now open to all researchers who wish to apply.
To be eligible, applicants must be affiliated with a set of organizations, have prior experience for “data-driven” analysis, a specific public interest use case for the data, and use “industry-standard” systems for safeguarding their research.
Twitter also notes that successful applicants will be “researchers with a demonstrable history of independent research” or who’ve met criteria that “demonstrate an ability to be entrusted with the TMRC’s data and to pursue research for a qualified purpose.”
Admitted members will have access to an archive of Twitter operations data dating back to 2018.
“By providing academics and researchers with access to specific, granular data (not just aggregated reports), we enable them to find insights and contextualize information in a way that increases the visibility of the reports themselves,” Yoel Roth, head of safety and integration at Twitter, wrote in the blog post. “Our goal is to remain transparent about the activity we identify on Twitter while addressing the considerable safety, security, and integrity challenges that come with disclosures of this kind.”
Twitter has previously shared some Twitter data with the Stanford Internet Observatory, but this expansion is the first of its kind to ‘non-targeted’ users. It is believed that this signals that the company is placing a bigger emphasis on transparency, particularly after the recent Senate Homeland Security hearing and Peiter “Mudge” Zatko’s accusations.
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