Q&A with Dr. Elizabeth Blakey

For 17 years, Twitter/X provided free academic access—not by law, but by social contract—to its data for researchers examining elections, hate speech, and other crucial public issues. As Elizabeth Blakey writes in her Spring 2024 feature article for Contexts, it took just six months under Elon Musk to rescind this unfettered access and upend global scholarship. “[I]t has to do with public trust,” Blakey explains in this interview about the public significance of her piece. “So if,” like Twitter and Musk, “you’re claiming to be the public town square and [to] be interested in having open discourse, it’s important that researchers be able to examine that discourse.” Further, she adds, “at the end of the day, I mean, the best argument for why [Twitter/X] should provide it is that it really is our data, right? They’re monetizing our data… they sell that data to marketing, but they don’t provide it to us. And it is our data.” Read, download, and share Blakey’s article, “The Day Data Transparency Died,” through June 15, 2024 at ctx.sagepub.com.