In a selection process that required precise details of the research project and a letter of motivation, Philipp Kessling and his colleagues had to apply to Twitter for "academic access". Once granted, it allows them to search and collect data in the Twitter archive, which dates back to 2006. Tweet content, user names, date of the respective tweets, likes and shares can thus be collected. "So it's a complex data structure that can be used to answer quite a few, quite interesting questions," says Philipp Kessling.
For example, this one: How often and when do politicians delete their tweets? An HBI project investigated this in the context of the 2021 federal election and came to the conclusion that a significant increase in deleted tweets after the election was noticeable for almost all parties. The AfD had the most deleted tweets.
Another project is sadly of a more recent nature: Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Philipp Kessling and his colleague Felix Münch have been collecting tweets related to the war in the Ukraine. They make the data available on a publicly accessible platform. "It's a service for other researchers who want to do research with this data but don't yet have access to it."
HBI Projects with Twitter Data