With Gnip, Twitter Is Ready To Sell Your Tweets

Gnip was once a neutral provider of social data, but now that neutrality is gone, and it’s in the hands of Twitter.

Twitter on Tuesday announced the acquisition of social data analytics startup Gnip, which is one of the only companies with access to Twitter’s firehose of data—all the tweets and activity streams on Twitter since the platform launched in 2006. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Twitter will bring both the revenue and data streams from Gnip in-house, exerting full control over our tweets and how they’re used. 

Gnip has worked with Twitter for years. It’s one of the handful of partner companies, or certified products, that Twitter partners with to handle its data. In fact, selling the firehose, that treasure trove of Twitter data, to Gnip and other analytics providers was one of the first ways Twitter made money. (Topsy and DataSift still have access to Twitter’s firehose as well.)

With the Gnip acquisition, no longer is there a man in the middle that deals your data to advertisers and other folks relying on your personal information to sell you things. Now, Twitter can deliver that data directly to buyers, effectively making you a product. 

Twitter Owns All The Data

With complete access to Gnip’s entire data set, Twitter can sell much more than just its own data: The analytics company has exclusive access to all Foursquare and Tumblr data, and it also works with Facebook and Google+. 

And Twitter wants Gnip to expand its offerings. Jana Messerschmidt, VP of global business development for Twitter, wrote in a blog post

Together we plan to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter … And with the help of Gnip’s Boulder-based team, we will be extending our data platform — through Gnip and our existing public APIs — even further.

It will be interesting to see if Gnip’s other partners will sever access to their information. While the majority of Gnip’s data comes from managed public API access, a handful of companies like Tumblr and Foursquare allow Gnip complete access, and now that access belongs to Twitter. 

Hopefully this signals to companies and interested users that Twitter is better prepared to provide more in-depth data, rather than arbitrary statistics, like the conversation surrounding #Sochi2014 during the Winter Olympics. But even if it can, it’s going to make you pay for it. 

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