Twitter is testing downloadable archives, report says

December 17, 2012

Twitter users may soon be able to take a walk down memory lane, all the way back to their first 140-character message. Twitter is allowing a small number of users to download their entire Twitter archive, according to a report from the Next Web.

Twitter could not immediately be reached for comment on the report, but confirmed to the Next Web that it is testing the feature for a “very small percentage of users.”

The tests follow up on an announcement that Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo made at the Online News Association that he would push the company’s engineers to give users the option to download information from their accounts.

Users who have the option to download their information will find it at the bottom of their settings page. After clicking the link, Twitter will e-mail users a link to their archives, which are organized by month.

While it could be pretty neat to look back and see your first tweet — in most cases, probably some variation of “Just testing this out.” — the test indicates Twitter is riding along with a much larger movement.

Data portability is a hot topic of discussion, particularly given how much information users trust to social networks. Many privacy and data openness advocates would like to see networks grant users greater control over the data they post to the networks and get a say over how long a company can retain their personal information. Others would like to see users gain the ability to download information in formats that could let them move their data between services.

It’s a feature that Twitter users have requested for a while. Facebook already allows users to download some of the information they’ve published on the network into a single archive. Google+ also lets users download some information from its network, as does LinkedIn.

According to user reports in the Next Web story, Twitter is offering the data in a variety of formats(HTML, CSV and JSON). In some formats, the company even includes metadata about messages that extend beyond the text and the date they were posted — a decision that gives users more flexibility to use the data for mapping, graphing or other projects.

Related stories:

Twitter releases photo filters

For Twitter, a lofty purpose as Pope Benedict XVI makes his first tweet

Twitter releases top trends of 2012

Sign up today to receive #thecircuit, a daily roundup of the latest tech policy news from Washington and how it is shaping business, entertainment and science.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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December 17, 2012

Twitter users may soon be able to take a walk down memory lane, all the way back to their first 140-character message. Twitter is allowing a small number of users to download their entire Twitter archive, according to a report from the Next Web.

Twitter could not immediately be reached for comment on the report, but confirmed to the Next Web that it is testing the feature for a “very small percentage of users.”

The tests follow up on an announcement that Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo made at the Online News Association that he would push the company’s engineers to give users the option to download information from their accounts.

Users who have the option to download their information will find it at the bottom of their settings page. After clicking the link, Twitter will e-mail users a link to their archives, which are organized by month.

While it could be pretty neat to look back and see your first tweet — in most cases, probably some variation of “Just testing this out.” — the test indicates Twitter is riding along with a much larger movement.

Data portability is a hot topic of discussion, particularly given how much information users trust to social networks. Many privacy and data openness advocates would like to see networks grant users greater control over the data they post to the networks and get a say over how long a company can retain their personal information. Others would like to see users gain the ability to download information in formats that could let them move their data between services.

It’s a feature that Twitter users have requested for a while. Facebook already allows users to download some of the information they’ve published on the network into a single archive. Google+ also lets users download some information from its network, as does LinkedIn.

According to user reports in the Next Web story, Twitter is offering the data in a variety of formats(HTML, CSV and JSON). In some formats, the company even includes metadata about messages that extend beyond the text and the date they were posted — a decision that gives users more flexibility to use the data for mapping, graphing or other projects.

Related stories:

Twitter releases photo filters

For Twitter, a lofty purpose as Pope Benedict XVI makes his first tweet

Twitter releases top trends of 2012

Sign up today to receive #thecircuit, a daily roundup of the latest tech policy news from Washington and how it is shaping business, entertainment and science.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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