Is your history of tweets as valuable to you, as they are to Twitter?  Your words and images go to archives that they can access much easier than you.

Twitter has licensed third-party companies to mine its giant archive of tweets. The first among them, DataSift, specializes in filtering and packaging huge swaths of data that market-research companies can analyze.

Now, there’s nothing unethical about Twitter selling access to an archive of statements that users freely made in public: Twitter is playing by the terms it laid down for users when they signed up. But there’s a catch. Unlike Facebook, whose Timeline lets users see everything they’ve posted, Twitter utterances vanish down the memory hole in a matter of weeks. The company is giving big corporate spenders access to writing that users created, but can’t even see themselves. And while it might hew to the letter of its contract with users, it represents a grimly ironic breach of faith.  [….]

The “historics” feature – which opens up a vault of archival data going back to 2010, will launch within the next month. This kind of access isn’t cheap. Subscriptions can run thousands of dollars a month, though pay-as-you-go options are available.

Here’s the irony: Twitter’s users walked into this line of publishing on the premise that the data would be public. Now, having pumped the service full of data, that data has effectively been made private, accessible only to those with a corporate analytics budget.

[….]  Now, Twitter users have two options: Submit their histories for corporate or political analysis, or delete them and lose everything.

By locking users out of their own data, Twitter has managed a rare feat: making Facebook look good. Beyond Timeline, Facebook provides a “Download Your Information” tool, which will give you a copy of everything you’ve fed into the system. A similar tool from Twitter would be a great start.  [….]

Twitter hands your data to the highest bidder, but not to you | Ivor Tossell | May 22, 2012 | The Globe and Mail at
Twitter hands your data to the highest bidder, but not to you - The Globe and Mail