Twitter invests $10 million in MIT’s new Laboratory for Social Machines

MEdia Lab copy

Twitter is investing $10 million in a new group at the MIT Media Lab that will study human behavior and events on social media. The five-year grant will come with access to the Twitter firehose, and historical data going back to the first tweet ever sent. 

Twitter and MIT announced Wednesday the Laboratory for Social Machines. The group will be led by Deb Roy, associate professor at the Media Lab and co-founder of Cambridge startup BlueFin Labs, which Twitter acquired in 2013.

The new project will “experiment in areas of public communication and social organization where humans and machines collaborate on problems that can’t be solved manually or through automation alone,” Roy said in a release.

The group hopes to collaborate with journalists and social groups to build tools, visualize data, more seamlessly connect algorithms that sort through data with humans that make sense of them.

The LSM will be right next door to a powerhouse for social media research, the Microsoft’s New England R&D’s Social Media Collective, just a block away.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at
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