Compliance and legal professionals frequently need to twitter archiver a Twitter account for official usage, much as with other social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram.
In the public sector, this often takes place to fulfil FOIA and Open Records recordkeeping responsibilities, but in the private sector, it typically takes place in advance of a regulatory audit or legal case.
In a recent instance, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter account was at the centre of a legal dispute when one of his tweets caused a 13 percent decline in Tesla shares and prompted a group of shareholders to file a lawsuit against the business.
It is vital to gather a twitter account as prospective proof in situations like the one described above, but how should this be done? Simply taking screenshots is an easy fix.
Simply collecting screenshots of pertinent tweets may seem like a simple fix at first, but doing it manually and using static pictures has certain problems.
Static pictures are not the best method for gathering and archiving tweets for the reasons mentioned above, at least not when it comes to a legal case or regulatory audit. Downloading the account’s archive straight from Twitter is a preferable substitute.
Similar to Facebook and Instagram, Twitter enables users to download account information from the service, thereby creating a record of the data.
On the website’s menu icon, click “More,” then choose “Settings and privacy” to save your data to a pc. Then, under “Data and permissions,” you choose “Your Twitter data.”
You will be sent to a page where you may download your Twitter data by clicking here. You must first enter your password as a security precaution, though.
Next, you can click a button to request your archive.
Twitter will notify you that your data is being retrieved once you’ve completed this. Your data will normally be ready in a few of hours, and you will be notified through email when it is time to download the data.
You may now download the data straight to your computer when you come back to the same page after receiving the email notification. Twitter will also let you know the date the data was created and the approximate size of the download, which comes as a ZIP file that has to be opened.
You’ll have the following items after extracting the ZIP file:
The first and most obvious file to pay attention to is “Your archive.html”. As the file extension suggests, it opens in your web browser.
According to Twitter, the simplest way to traverse your archive is to double-click the “Your archive” file located in the main folder once the archive has been unzipped in order to launch the HTML renderer in a desktop web browser.
In essence, what you receive is a localised version of your online account. The user interface that appears when you click “Tweets” is remarkably similar to the standard Twitter user interface.
Even though this archive view is user-friendly, it has a number of serious drawbacks:
You need to go through the JSON files in the downloaded “data” folder to locate anything that could be useful for compliance and legal proceedings. Additionally, the material has been disassembled and decontextualized, as is so frequently the case with these types of archive downloads. An excerpt from that folder is shown below:
The “tweet media” folder contains all of the tweets’ pictures, whereas the “tweets.js” file contains the actual tweets. This is what you get when you use a JSON reader to inspect this.js file:
The context of every tweet from the account, along with any accompanying media, has been wiped away. Although “tweets.js” is at least one file that can be verified with a hash value, the content is difficult to grasp at a glance and is not something you would want to bring in court.
Similar to a screenshot, Twitter’s built-in archiving capability is not the best option because it does not give you the kind of verified copy of evidence that might be presented to a court or auditor.
An automated archiving system that archives Twitter content in real-time is a far superior option when it comes to gathering and keeping data for legal and compliance requirements. Real-time social media capturing enables the following:
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