Terrible news: your angry tweets at Seamless customer service will no longer be kept on file for the aliens to read when they descend upon humanity. The Library of Congress does not want them anymore.
NPR reports that seven years after promising to archive every public tweet spewed from humanity’s fingertips, the Library of Congress is giving up. We broke them. They can’t read anymore of our garbage, and they certainly can’t keep them in the same place they store the Gettysburg Address.
In an announcement, the Library thanked us for our contributions to the presumably hellish daily operations of the person in charge of Twitter archival, but they’re all good:
...The social media landscape has changed significantly, with new platforms, an explosion in use, terms of service and functionality shifting frequently and lessons learned about privacy and other concerns.
They further explained that the “volume of tweets and related transactions has evolved and increased dramatically” since they initially agreed to go down this twisted road. Tweets have also become more visual, which means collecting text from Twitter for posterity probably looks something like this:
Me, looking at Library of Congress:
Not helpful! Memes have killed history.
The first injection of 140 character missives were “gifted” from Twitter in 2010, spanning back to 2006. In 2013, the Library said they’d already amassed 170 billion tweets. They don’t say how many they have now in 2017, but Donald Trump must account for at least twice as many as that. Emotionally, at least. Every one of his tweets feels like scrolling through hell’s timeline for eight hours.
They will still collect a few select tweets that are “thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.” So, put Twitter Moments in a folder and call it a day, I guess. Please share a tweet of yours you’re deeply ashamed the Library of Congress has archived in the comments.