Twitter Rolls Out Download Function

One of the challenges with Twitter, especially once you start to accumulate a following and engage thousands of people, is that it appears as if the information is fleeting and quickly gone forever.

What happened to that interesting legal case in that other jurisdiction that we were discussing on Twitter last month? If only I had bookmarked the page…

Twitter announced earlier this summer that users would be able to download Tweets, a promise that was reiterated last month with a deadline of the end of 2012. Some users are sharing that the feature has already been rolled out on their accounts.

Beyond yet another reminder of the permanency of online activities and applications for research, this provides another option for obtaining discoverable contents in what is increasingly becoming relevant in litigation.

More interestingly, it does raise questions of spoliation where accounts are closed or downloadable content is otherwise destroyed.


  1. Is there a conflict between ‘permanency of content’ and ‘questions of spoliation’? It’s one thing to download stuff from Twitter – and then delete it, I suppose, if it’s inconvenient – and another to have it permanently accessible from the Twitter servers.

    Are you concerned that having it downloaded might lead someone to think that it can then be deleted safely, but then find themself exposed to a spoliation problem because the material was sought out by the opposing party from Twitter?

    or is it a defence to a spoliation action to say ‘it doesn’t matter that I deleted my version of the text because everybody knows it’s available online forever’?