Twitter has invested $10m in the creation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM), designed to investigate patterns in interactions formed through information spreading via social media.
Based at MIT's Media Lab, the LSM will focus on developing new technologies to assess semantic and social patterns across a wide range of public mass media, social media, data streams and digital content.
The goal is to use pattern discovery and data visualisation to develop new platforms for people and institutions to better identify, discuss and act on pressing problems in society.
Deb Roy, an associate professor at MIT's Media Lab, described the potential of analysing public media and data as "an effective catalyst for increasing accountability and transparency" between individuals and institutions.
While Twitter is investing heavily in the project, the LSM will operate independently of the company, and will work across other social networks.
In a blog post, Twitter's Mark Gillis described how Twitter hopes the investment will improve its presence in the world of academic research.
"We've already seen Twitter data being used in everything from epidemiology to natural disaster response. This is an exciting step for all of us at Twitter as we continue to develop new ways to support the research community," wrote Gillis.
MIT will have access to the complete history of public tweets, going back to the first ever tweet made by Jack Dorsey in 2006.
V3 contacted Twitter for more information on the role it wants to play in digital academic research, but the company has yet to respond.
Twitter appears keen to push the analysis of its data, having recently opened its analytics tracking dashboard to all users.
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