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Twitter investing $10M in MIT for social network research

Twitter recently announced that the company gave a US$10 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This grant will be used to conduct research regarding social networks and how people utilize this tool in achieving shared goals. This new lab is dubbed as the “Laboratory of Social Machines”.

For the next 5 years, the researchers for this lab will organize tons of content and information from other online forums as well as Twitter and Reddit. Aside from that, the research would also mean creating new tools for communication that journalists, policy experts, and researchers can utilize in order to examine new patterns and trends. MIT will also utilize data from Gnip in order to access a database of historic tweets. This website is also owned by Twitter.

Deb Roy, an associate professor at the university’s Media Lab, described this type of research as having an “openness” and also pointed out the importance of Twitter in this research. Through this research, the professor pointed out that the data could show how far messages can travel online as well as the origin point of rumors, opinions, and ideas.

The research would also focus on the reasons why social media is more inclined to produce negative energy rather than a positive on. Professor Deb Roy was appointed as the head of this new research group, and he is also currently connected to Twitter as the chief media scientist.

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Dick Costolo, the CEO for Twitter released a statement regarding this news stating that “with this investment, Twitter 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.”

This is not the first time that Twitter has given money in the name of research as it has previously supported “Twitter Data Grants”. This grant is considered as the biggest yet for Twitter due to its size and scope. In accordance to that, a spokesperson from Twitter remarked that the company has future plans to provide more funding to academic research.

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