#BlackLivesMatter tweets vanishing
The big picture: The purge makes it hard to archive the historic record of the Black Lives Matter movement, which utilized social media to bring attention to George Floyd's murder and organize worldwide demonstrations.
Details: About 35% of #BlackLivesMatter tweets created between 2013 and 2021 are no longer available on Twitter, an analysis released Thursday using past data collection efforts found.
- Out of all the #BlackLivesMatter tweets posted between May and September 2020, during the height of the Floyd demonstrations, 40% are no longer accessible, the Pew Research Center study said.
- The analysis is based on tweets tagged with #BlackLivesMatter that were publicly available as of spring 2023.
Zoom out: More than 44 million tweets with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag exist on Twitter today, the report said.
- About 72% of all #BlackLivesMatter tweets expressed support for the movement or its broader objectives. Just 11% express opposition.
- #BlackLivesMatter as a hashtag quickly spread to other social media sites like Twitter. Its use surged after high-profile police shootings of Black residents over the past 10 years.
The intrigue: Sam Bestvater, a computational social scientist at the Pew Research Center, told Axios researchers can't point to one reason why tweets are disappearing.
- "While modern protest movements may have come to rely on social media platforms pretty considerably, these platforms weren't really designed to be cultural archives," Bestvater said.,
- "The records they contain can degrade over time, and they might not be around forever."
- Bestvater said it's unclear if the #BlackLivesMatter tweets were scrapped before or after the Musk takeover.
- Civil rights groups urged companies to stop advertising on the platform after Musk bought it while academics and celebrities deleted accounts.
- Users also left after Musk removed verified blue check marks from celebrities, journalists, and other public figures and allowed formerly suspended users to return.
For the record: Twitter did not respond to Axios' request for comment.
Don't forget: Americans' support for the Black Lives Matter movement has fallen to its lowest point since the murder of George Floyd three years ago, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults released this month.