Nonrandom Tweet Mortality and Data Access Restrictions: Compromising the Replication of Sensitive Twitter Studies (Forthcoming, Political Analysis)

Used by politicians, journalists, and citizens, Twitter has been the most important social media platform to investigate political phenomena such as hate speech, polarization, or terrorism for over a decade. A high proportion of Twitter studies of emotionally charged or controversial content limit their ability to replicate findings due to incomplete Twitter-related replication data and the inability to recrawl their datasets entirely. This paper shows that these Twitter studies and their findings are considerably affected by nonrandom tweet mortality and data access restrictions imposed by the platform. While sensitive datasets suffer a notably higher removal rate than nonsensitive datasets, attempting to replicate key findings of Kim’s (2023, Political Science Research and Methods 11, 673–695) influential study on the content of violent tweets leads to significantly different results. The results highlight that access to complete replication data is particularly important in light of dynamically changing social media research conditions. Thus, the study raises concerns and potential solutions about the broader implications of nonrandom tweet mortality for future social media research on Twitter and similar platforms.

The Temporal Dimension of Parliamentary Dialogue: When are MPs Seeking and Avoiding Discourse Strategically? (Working Paper, 2024)

What we can and cannot learn from responses to legislative speeches. Evidence from the German Bundestag, 1949-2021 (Working Paper, 2022)

(Dis)agreement and salience are key components of explanations in political science. Several approaches such as expert surveys and quantitative text analysis provide useful measures of these concepts. We show that further measures can be gained from …

The housing crisis on social media: Housing markets and the subnational diversification of policy supply (Working Paper, 2022)

Political research shows an increasing interest in the political repercussions of subnational heterogeneity in housing markets. Whereas the effects on voters' preferences and behaviors receive increasing attention, effects on parties' policy supply …

Collection, Management, and Analysis of Twitter Data (Blog Post, 2022)

As a highly relevant platform for political and social online interactions, researchers increasingly analyze Twitter data. As of 01/2021, Twitter renewed its API, which now includes access to the full history of tweets for academic usage. In this Methods Bites Tutorial, Andreas Küpfer (Technical University of Darmstadt & MZES) presents a walkthrough of the collection, management, and analysis of Twitter data.