The company announced the new API Tuesday in response to frequent requests from academics who want to study Twitter's role in the spread of things like misinformation and hate speech.
Until now, Twitter's full back catalog has only been available to businesses that could afford to pay for the more robust API, forcing cash-strapped researchers to use Twitter's more restrictive free API. "We've heard that the pricing models of our API were prohibitive to the limited funding that many academics have," Leanne Trujillo, Twitter's academic program manager, told reporters. "A major motivation with this new product track was building a free solution for researchers to get the data they need, without having to pay."
In order to access the API, researchers will have to submit an application and agree to Twitter's developer rules, including restrictions on republishing the raw data. Once approved, they'll have access to all of Twitter's historical data, a higher monthly cap of accessible tweets and the ability to filter tweets more precisely.
The news is part of increasing efforts by tech giants to enable researchers to study what's happening on their platforms. On Monday, Facebook announced it would be giving researchers access to targeting data for 1.3 million political ads that ran in the three months before the 2020 election.