Why is the number of data items (e.g., tweets) different from the Sifter estimate?

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I created a rule to search for Twitter tweets to get an estimate so I could estimate the number of tweets that would be returned and the cost. The estimate provided around 35,000 tweets, however the final information only has 31,000 tweets. Why is the actual number of data records different from the estimate?

Twitter provides an estimate based on six 1-minute samples over a 24-hour period. The actual amount of data (activities) available cannot be known in advanced; it can only be estimated based on this sampling technique. The query rule is run against an ever-shifting population of Tweets and deleted Tweets using an estimate provided by Twitter.

 

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