Twitter data - is it filtered?

25.09.2018, 21:33

Does Twitter filter its API search results based on any criteria related to the user ID performing the search?

I have been using the MAXQDA Twitter data collector using my default twitter account, and it occurred to me that twitter might be showing me tweets that have been pre-filtered according to who I am, rather than just giving me all results. This would potentially introduce a bias because it may only be fetching tweets that match my Twitter activity profile.

I am not sure that it is doing this, but in some MAXQDA queries, the results were suspiciously close to my own views, and it made me wonder if I am seeing the raw results, or if it was showing me mostly what it thought I liked.

Any thoughts?

Version: MAXQDA 2018
System: Windows 10
mloxton
 
Posts: 107
Joined: 28.02.2014, 19:38
Location: Washington DC & Denver Colorado

Re: Twitter data - is it filtered?

26.09.2018, 10:53

Good question.. since you define a search query rather then getting "interesting" information for your specific account, I would expect that one will simply get all of the information that falls within the search paramerts. The question is: will it be sorted according to individual interests – which becomes especially interesting if there are more then 10000 results for a search query, because then some will need to be left out..

I asked the programmers but they also don't know. I found this website:

https://developer.twitter.com/en/docs/tweets/search/api-reference/get-search-tweets.html

With the following passage:

Please note that Twitter’s search service and, by extension, the Search API is not meant to be an exhaustive source of Tweets. Not all Tweets will be indexed or made available via the search interface.

I don't know if this refers to non-public-tweets, or what...

Someone else has an idea?
MAXQDA Support Team
Andreas V.
 
Posts: 265
Joined: 13.04.2017, 16:23

Re: Twitter data - is it filtered?

26.09.2018, 17:50

Thanks Andreas.
If Twitter search is giving a randomly selected subset of all matching results, then this may be fine, but it worries me that they may be filtering in a non-random way. That would put a dent in the validity of using Twitter as a research tool.
mloxton
 
Posts: 107
Joined: 28.02.2014, 19:38
Location: Washington DC & Denver Colorado

Re: Twitter data - is it filtered?

17.04.2019, 08:52

Hi Matthew,
I have used and tested the Twitter imported several times and always got the same results.
I would suggest to use a clean new Twitter account for importing purposes, if you have any doubts.
Stefan
Dr Stefan Rädiker
Training, Coaching, Analysis for Research & Evaluation
Stefan Rädiker
 
Posts: 259
Joined: 12.02.2007, 10:18

Re: Twitter data - is it filtered?

09.05.2019, 16:28

Thanks Stefan,
Perhaps to test this, we would need two different people to use identical search/filter terms at about the same time.
As you say, a workaround in case there is user-based filtering going on in the api, we could just create a new twitter login each time a new study is done.

-M
mloxton
 
Posts: 107
Joined: 28.02.2014, 19:38
Location: Washington DC & Denver Colorado

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