Wayback Machine for Twitter: How Do You Use It?

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The internet is a goldmine of information. Most of the time, too much information that it turns into a tremendous source for investigative purposes. If you want to see how someone’s old social media page looked a few years back, for instance, go on Wayback Machine. And you’ll uncover a timeline of changes you could use for legal evidence or for ending an argument with a friend (e.g., “See, you did comment on that tweet!”)

How Wayback Machine Works

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Wayback Machine for Twitter is fairly easy to use, which is why it has sometimes been a reliable source for many doing deep research of the web. Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

The Wayback Machine is a library of the digital world, preserving billions (553, according to the website) of web pages — including Twitter. The use of Wayback Machine for Twitter (and other social media sites for that matter) goes in the same way you’d use it for other sites, like CNN, Tinypic or any business site. So yes, the Internet Archive entity does work for Twitter.

You want to find deleted tweets? The Wayback Machine can present you with screenshots of the Twitter page in question. But you’re not likely to see deleted tweets, as in the individual tweets. You’ll go through about the first 20 or so tweets that were done on a specific day the page was recorded. What you won’t see are the older tweets on that popular page; you can’t scroll farther down.

Even with its limited use for Twitter, the Wayback Machine can still be handy for many people; some still want to find out how to use it.

How Do You Use Wayback Machine?

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The Wayback Machine, owned by the Internet Archive, can be used for social media sites, like Twitter, as well as other websites you’re interested in doing research on. Just type in the URL Screenshot by Tweettabs.com

Step 1

Type the website you want to get information on. In this case, we use a Twitter URL. If you’re interested in learning more about Sodapoppin’s Twitter history, for instance, type in the Twitch streamer’s URL in the field. Then click Browse History.

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Using Wayback Machine for Twitter search is easy enough. Just get the URl right, then click the corresponding button. Screenshot by Tweettabs.com

Step 2

If the Twitter page is still a bit new or posts aren’t as wildly prolific as Donald Trump’s tweets, you may not get any results, except for a note that says that page hasn’t been archived yet.

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Some pages haven’t been archived yet, like @sodapoppin_ Screenshot by Tweettabs.com

Using Trump as an alternate example, you’ll get a calendar marking the days when the particular Twitter page was recorded. So if the deleted tweet is in the first 20, you may be able to see it on Wayback.

When you hover over the marked days, it will indicate the number of times Wayback Machine took a screenshot. It doesn’t indicate the number of times the page was updated. You’ll get that information when you click the Changes button.

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The good ‘ol days forTrump when he was allowed to tweet. The former POTUS no longer has that power after having been cut off by Twitter. Screenshot by Tweettabs.com

Step 3

Click a date bubble. And you’ll be taken to a screenshot of that page, on that day and that time.

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Because Trump tweets more than the average always-on influencer, you’ll notice how frequently his Twitter page is crawled. Screenshot by Tweettabs.com
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Although Trump tweeted nearly every hour everyday, he did have some deleted tweets, which you’ll find here. Screenshot by Tweettabs.com

What if you wanted to use Wayback Machine for Youtube? The search is a bit different because the link to search in is different: https://archive.org/details/youtubecrawl. Then search for the video you need accordingly.

Freeze Awesome Tweets in Time?

Some people don’t wait for pages to get archived; many use a Wayback Machine feature to save individual URLs, from sites with reports to blogs with animemes. Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

An option to this investigative route in seeing tweets — deleted and otherwise — is to be proactive. If you come across a brilliant comment on Twitter or a remarkable post, go to Save Page Now to archive that content.

Wayback Machine takes screenshots of tens of millions of tweets. But not every post on the social media platform gets archived. According to an interview with the director of Wayback, people use the Save Page Now feature millions of times to record individual URLs. And most of them from Twitter.

Of course, you can also archive other websites, from historic case settlements on a news site to mesmerizing animemes (or anime memes) on a funny blog. And if you want to reminisce about Twitter’s old design, Wayback Machine can also give you a trip back in time.

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