Almost from the time the first tweet was posted in 2006, Twitter has played an important role in world events. The platform has been used to record everything from the Arab Spring to the ongoing war in Ukraine. It’s also captured our public conversations for years.
But experts are worried that if Elon Musk tanks the company, these rich seams of media and conversation could be lost forever. Given his admission to employees in a November 10 call that Twitter could face bankruptcy, it’s a real and present risk.
Musk himself acknowledges that Twitter is a public forum, and it’s this fact that makes the potential loss of the platform so significant. Twitter has become integral to civilization today. It’s a place where people document war crimes, discuss key issues, and break and report on news.
It’s where the US raid that would result in Osama bin Laden’s death was first announced. It’s where people get updates on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s where news of the downing of flight MH17, a Malaysia Airlines plane that was likely shot down by pro-Russia forces in Ukraine in 2014, first surfaced. It is a living, breathing historical document. And there’s real concern it could disappear soon.
Read more: Twitter’s potential collapse could wipe out vast records of recent human history