A lot has been wrote about Elon Musk’s bid to take over Twitter, a move that is currently on shaky ground despite significant support from Morgan Stanley and the approval of Twitter’s board of directors.

Reporting and pundits have focused on the security implications of the proposed acquisition, as well as Musk’s potential approaches to content moderation and, on a related topic, his understanding of the concept of “free speech.” But another momentous aspect of the deal has received far less attention: how Twitter’s research data access policy might change under a Musk regime.

Twitter hasn’t always had a comfortable relationship with researchers. In recent years, however, the social network has made strides in providing access to its archives at a time when competitors have taken the opposite step. In January 2021, Twitter claimed that academic researchers are one of the largest groups using its API.

Some researchers are concerned…

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