Twitter sells billions of tweets to marketers

Twitter homepage

Popular social networking site Twitter has sold two years worth of tweets, for marketing and business intelligence purposes.

Twitter will allow businesses access to tweets posted since January 2010, which equates to a significant number given there are an estimated 250 million tweets posted a day.

With over 1000 companies on its waiting list seeking access to the tweets, UK firm DataSift will be the first company to offer the data, the BBC reported. These companies will then use the information to create and assist with marketing campaigns to target users and other businesses.

The deal has outraged privacy campaigners.

“People have historically used Twitter to communicate with friends and networks in the belief that their tweets will quickly disappear into the ether,” Privacy International executive director Gus Hosein told the BBC.

“Twitter has turned a social network that was meant to promote real-time global conversation into a vast market-research enterprise with unwilling, unpaid participants,” he added.

He believes the deal is a “radical shift in the wrong direction”.

However DataSift’s marketing manager Tim Barker said it was the right move.

“The thing with Twitter is that it was always created to be a public social network, which isn’t the case with Facebook, which is more of a blended model. Twitter has been public since day one,” Barker said.

DataSift has called its Twitter analysing service Historics, which it says can be used for business intelligence, allowing companies to “improve forecasting of product-demand by analysing market sentiment towards their product compared to product-launches in the past.”

The Historics service also provides brand management and social monitoring, the ability to analyse real-time and past conversations around companies, stocks, sentiments and breaking news on twitter in order to guide trading decisions.

Social marketing will also be enhanced by the service, letting marketers track public sentiment towards a marketing campaign, helping them adjust the campaign and offers based on market feedback.

Twitter has not commented on the deal.