Platform researchers are living through a strange moment– a pseudo-post-API age. On the one hand, there is no need to convince anyone–in Washington, Brussels, or even Silicon Valley–that using platform data to understand the relationship between social media and society is of the utmost importance. Yet, we keep losing tools that facilitate social media researcher data access. At the time of writing, the Twitter Academic API is on life-support and Meta’s CrowdTangle is not far behind it.
And then, in February 2023, the long promised TikTok API was released. It was an exciting announcement for those struggling to do large-scale research on TikTok, but researchers quickly identified provisions that troubled them in terms of service.