Confusion on Developer Policy



I’m new to the API and twitter data so I’m hoping this is the place to ask this question (please let me know if it is more suited on a different forum).

I’m doing some volunteer analytics work for a charity and I was looking into open social media data where we could track tweets relating to a particular hashtag to analyse the level of awareness there was about the cause relating to the charity.

I was looking to use the free developer account to pull the data for the twitter API and then view results, perhaps in an R Shiny dashboard or Power BI. However I’m struggling to fully understand the terms of the developer account and what exactly you are allowed to do and not do with the data, given that it’s publicly available data.

Some of the terms in section 7 of the policy (F. Be a Good Partner to Twitter) are causing me some confusion. Particularly the terms:

‘If you provide Twitter Content to third parties, including downloadable datasets of Twitter Content or an API that returns Twitter Content, you will only distribute or allow download of Tweet IDs, Direct Message IDs, and/or User IDs.’


‘You may not distribute Tweet IDs for the purposes of (a) enabling any entity to store and analyze Tweets for a period exceeding 30 days unless you are doing so on behalf of an academic institution and for the sole purpose of non-commercial research or you have received the express written permission of Twitter’.

Someone also mentioned on an online blog there may be restrictions on storing the twitter data.

Hoping someone can answer these questions (or direct me to who to ask):

  • Would I be allowed to run the API every week and then store the results securely (given the free account only goes back 7 days)?
  • Would I be allowed to create analysis based on these tweets (trend graphs, word clouds etc?) given you can’t identify any particular tweet/user from this output?
  • Would it be against the terms to say have a table with, say, ‘top tweets’ - where I would show the text and username? If this is not allowed would I be able to instead display a hyperlink to the tweet, so I am not directly displaying the tweet text and username.
  • If I can do the above, it is then allowed to make the results public/with 3rd parties? In first instance would just be sharing with the charity (who I guess would not be termed ‘3rd party’ since I’m working with them, even though not employed by them) but would it then be breaking terms if we shared the dashboard with a partner organisation of theirs? The charity currently uses a free version of Power BI so I believe this means it’s technically public if someone gets the link (again, not sure if this affects the terms).
  • Would I be allowed to map volume of tweets (again, not being able to indenting the tweet or user, just counts per location) based on location in someone’s bio, not where the tweet was sent?
  • If there are restrictions on the above, is it possible to ask about whether because it’s non-commercial charity work if perhaps similar exceptions would apply as with academic institutions (which are mentioned in the terms).
  • If I was asking the same questions for non-charity work (whether that be individual work as a hobby or a commercial company) would it be different?

Apologies for the lengthy message but just want to be clear before we begin any work.

Hugely appreciate any help/advice.


This is just my opinion based on what’s out there that i know of:

Those terms are more relevant for when you share tweet data, not reports built on tweets (as far as i understand)

  • There are some “restricted use cases” you should steer clear of

  • You can run the api as often as the Rate Limits allow, and as long as you don’t make the data you’re downloading public, can store it however you see fit. You may want to periodically check for deletions / private accounts and remove that data.

  • Analysis for reports like you describe with an R Dashboard should be fine

  • It should also be ok to highlight tweets and users - eg: for displaying tweets you can always embed them:

  • Aggregate counts mapping volume of Tweets should also be fine.

  • For “sharing” public/with 3rd party with Power BI: I’ve honestly no idea if that’s a problem or not - can’t say without knowing anything about Power BI.


Thanks very much for your reply Igor - this has been a good step towards clarifying.

With the restricted cases it says
‘you may only share up to 50,000 hydrated public Tweet Objects and/or User Objects per recipient, per day, and should not make this data publicly available (for example, as an attachment to a blog post or in a public Github repository)’

  • by ‘hydrated’ do you know if this means only tweet ids or can it be, say, tweet text + username + favourites (relating to my top tweet table) or would you only be able to have an embedded link to say 1 tweet?

Also I’m hoping to get a reply from someone from Twitter on this to confirm my questions. And also if someone can answer about Power BI because in the restricted cases it says -
‘it should not make this data publicly available (for example, as an attachment to a blog post or in a public Github repository)’
But with free version of Power BI (an some cases the same with R dashboards) when you publish it to allow you to share it, technically anyone who gets access to the url would be able to view it - even if you do not directly share it publicly.

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