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Twitter promises to make user archives availabile for download

26 Nov 2012

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo said that users will be able to download their entire tweet archive by the year's end.

At a recent talk at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, Costolo reported that every tweet a user has ever sent out will be available for download by before the year is out.

Costolo said that the reason it has taken so long for Twitter to offer users their tweet archives is because the social networking service is not suited for archive distribution. He said that that the volume of tweets the firm receives has made it difficult to set up a system for long-term archiving.

"[Twitter's] really horribly suited to archive search and archive distribution. So if you wanted to do a search against our user database, our user [database] for that entire history, it would be so slow that it would slow down the rest of the real-time distribution of things," Costolo said during his speech.

"So what we're doing to enable users to download the entire archive history of their tweets is, as you can imagine, creating a different kind of archival system for these tweets. We're in the process of doing that now."

As it currently stands Twitter allows users view their last 3,200 tweets. Users may be able to view their entire backlog but they would have to use a third-party application to do so.

Costolo announced plans for a Twitter archival download earlier this year. However, Twitter has been silent on the possibility ever since Costolo mentioned it. Twitter was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing.

Twitter recently unveiled a new tweet takedown procedure earlier this month. A Twitter archival system could be useful for companies and users who find themselves in litigation over old tweets.

An archival system could also prove useful for companies that need a record of tweets from corporate accounts.

A recent V3 poll found that 39 percent of businesses feel that Twitter needs more regulation. However, some analysts feel that the issue is less about regulation and more about corporate awareness. A documented record of tweets could serve as a reminder and educational tool for Twitter usage.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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