One of the biggest operations for preserving politicians’ deleted tweets has been shut down.
The Open State Foundation say that Twitter has cut off its API access for its Politwoops and Diplotwoops sites. The sites were simple – they just pulled deleted tweets from politicians’ profiles and made them visible for the world to see. It was about transparency, according to the siterunners.
But apparently, Twitter does not agree. The company reportedly said that every user – public or private – has the right to delete their tweets.
“Twitter said that its decision to suspend access to Politwoops followed a ‘thoughtful internal deliberation and close consideration of a number of factors’ and that it doesn’t distinguish between users. Twitter wrote: ‘Imagine how nerve-racking – terrifying, even – tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable? No one user is more deserving of that ability than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice.'” says Open State Foundation.
The places where Twitter’s API refusal has effectively shut down Politwoops are Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Portugal, Egypt, Estonia, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Macedonia, Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey and the Vatican. It also includes members of the European Parliament.
“What our elected officials say is a matter of public record, and Twitter is an increasingly important part of how our elected officials communicate with the public. This kind of dialogue between we the people and those who represent us is an important part of any democratic system. And even in the case of deleted tweets, it’s also a public part — these tweets are live and viewable by anyone on Twitter.com and other platforms for at least some amount of time,” said the siterunner, Sunlight Foundation, at the time.
“Unfortunately, Twitter’s decision to pull the plug on Politwoops is a reminder of how the Internet isn’t truly a public square. Our shared conversations are increasingly taking place in privately owned and managed walled gardens, which means that the politics that occur in such conversations are subject to private rules. (In this case, Twitter’s terms of service for usage of its API.)”
The latest move means Politwoops has been cut off in all remaining countries of operation.
“What politicians say in public should be available to anyone. This is not about typos but it is a unique insight on how messages from elected politicians can change without notice,” says Open State Foundation director Arjan El Fassed.[Open State Foundation via The Guardian]