Twitter To Academics: Delete Twitter Data Or Pay $42K/Month…. And Another Senior Figure At Twitter Leaves

I am of two minds on this on. I can’t decide if this is another attempt by Elon Musk to grab as much cash as he can. Or if Elon is trying to cover up how much of a racist, sexist, homophobic train wreck next to a dumpster fire it it. Either way, The Independent is reporting that Elon wants academics who got data from Twitter to either delete it, or pay him $42K a month:

An email, seen by the i, says researchers who don’t sign the new contract “will need to expunge all Twitter data stored and cached in your systems”. Researchers will be required to post screenshots “that showcase evidence of removal”. They have been given 30 days after their agreement expires to complete the process.

The requirement to delete the data was included in the original contract signed by researchers when they agreed to access the decahose, but it signals a U-turn on previous openness to scrutiny by academics. 

The contracts were signed with the previous Twitter regime, which had historically welcomed academic scrutiny of its platform and valued the importance of transparency. The researchers had no reason to believe that the contracts would ever end – nor that they would be asked to delete data they had previously obtained under its terms, regardless of what the text said.

“There is quite a bit of research underway to illuminate what has happened on Twitter the last several years, so it’s devastating both to that research, and to the transparency of the platform, and for the historical record of the public discussion on Twitter,” said one academic who received the demand. They asked not to be named because they are concerned about the ramifications. “It’s sort of the big data equivalent of book burning.”

At some point Elon is going to get called on this. Likely by the EU who has rules about this sort of thing. But Twitter has other issues at the moment. As in news that the head of engineering at Twitter has resigned following the debacle related to Ron DeSantis launching his bid for The White House on Twitter, and that turning into a train wreck next to a dumpster fire:

Foad Dabiri, the engineering lead for Twitter’s Growth organisation, tweeted: “After almost four incredible years at Twitter, I decided to leave the nest yesterday.”


Mr Dabiri did not say why he had decided to leave the company, or whether it was linked to the problems with Mr DeSantis’s campaign.

In a thread on Twitter, he thanked his “remarkable” colleagues for their friendship, stating the company had experienced “massive and rapid” change under Mr Musk.

“We came through and emerged stronger,” he added. “To say it was challenging at the outset would be an understatement.”

He added that working with the Tesla founder “has been highly educational”, and that it was “enlightening” to see how his plans were shaping the future of Twitter.

It sounds like he was made to walk the plank because of the gong show that was the DeSantis campaign launch. Too bad for him. But it illustrates that Elon isn’t the type of person who takes responsibility for anything, seeing as he mass fired a lot of the people who likely could have supported this campaign launch and make sure that it went off without a hitch. However, Elon is also not a guy who thinks that far ahead. And that is starting to bite him as you have to wonder what Republicans think of the guy at the moment based on what happened with this brutal campaign launch.

One Response to “Twitter To Academics: Delete Twitter Data Or Pay $42K/Month…. And Another Senior Figure At Twitter Leaves”

  1. […] look good on Elon. And when you combine this departure with another recent departure, and this departure from not too long ago, it seems that nobody wants to work for Twitter. Other than of course  Linda Yaccarino who came on […]

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