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Twitter-funded lab to seek social media insights
October 2, 2014, 11:00 am
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A new Twitter-funded research project unveiled Wednesday, with access to every tweet ever sent, will look for patterns and insights from the billions of messages sent on social media.

The MIT Media Lab said the new Laboratory for Social Machines would be funded by a five-year, $10-million commitment from Twitter, which will also provide access to its real-time, public stream as well as the archive of every tweet dating back to the first.

The new lab will examine “semantic and social patterns across the broad span of public mass media, social media, data streams, and digital content,” according to a statement from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Researchers will study “interaction patterns and shared interests in relevant social systems,” to gain fresh insights into how and why people use social media.

The lab will be independent of Twitter and will examine numerous social networks including Twitter, according to the university.

“As social media leads us into the emergence of a new era of communication and engagement, the (new lab) in collaboration with Twitter, will create analytical tools to help turn the vision of a new public sphere into reality,” adds Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab.

Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, said the project “is seizing the opportunity to go deeper into research to understand the role Twitter and other platforms play in the way people communicate, the effect that rapid and fluid communication can have and apply those findings to complex societal issues.”

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