Twitter offers data to researchers studying virus

Twitter said Wednesday it would allow researchers to access data on real-time conversations about the coronavirus pandemic to help deepen their understanding of the disease.

The project is aimed at gathering information about the spread of the illness, assessing the emergency response and communication trends during the crisis, and tackling misinformation.

“This is a unique dataset that covers many tens of millions of tweets daily,” the US social network said in a blog.

“The conversations happening on Twitter are highly insightful and have the potential to help the world better understand the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Access to Twitter’s real-time data could also help develop artificial intelligence tools for scientists working to quell the global outbreak.

“Public conversation can help the world learn faster, solve problems better and realize we’re all in this together,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said.

European Commission vice president Vera Jourova, who is responsible for disinformation issues, welcomed the initiative.

“I have constantly underlined the importance for researchers to have better access to useful non-personal data and tools,” she said in a statement to AFP.

“This is key to understanding the spread of disinformation.” (AFP)