In October 2014 Twitter committed $10 million towards the creation of MIT Media Lab’s Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM), providing full access to its real-time public stream and entire archive of tweets. Today, MIT's LSM acquires data from a number of digital networks to provide insights and research into a number of fields.
LSM was initially launched by former Twitter Chief Media Scientist Deb Roy, who consequently gained complete access to all tweets (real-time and historical) from Twitter. Considering this close relationship between LSM and Twitter, guidelines (https://socialmachines.media.mit.edu/139-2/) have subsequently been formed to separate the interests of the social media platform and the academic institution. Though other digital networks are mentioned in LSM's projects, the data sharing agreements between LSM and other social media platforms are unknown.
Social Machines hosts a number of research projects that aim to map and analyze social systems and to design tools to support the positive use of human networks. This includes research in the fields of Journalism and Public Opinion, Responsive Governance and Human Development. Previous projects include the analysis of tweets from the 2016 presidential campaign to scrutinize public opinion; creating a digital literacy learning program informed by social network designs; and the Human Atlas that analyzes social connections within communities.