Twitter Hints That It May Re-Enable Politwoops, The Service That Tracks Politicians’ Deleted Tweets

by • October 22, 2015

According to remarks made by Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday, it seems as if Twitter may be reversing its earlier decision to ban Politwoops, a service that tracked politicians’ deleted tweets, holding them accountable for things they wished they hadn’t said on the micro-blogging service. Developed by the Open State Foundation, Politwoops operated dedicated accounts in 30 countries around the world prior to Twitter’s ban, including one in the U.S. run by a government transparency group called the Sunlight Foundation.

In May, Twitter banned the U.S. version of Politwoops, then proceeded to shut down the remaining countries later this summer, saying that the service violated Twitter’s developer agreement, and that everyone on Twitter should have the same rights to privacy…even politicians.

The move, naturally, was lambasted by a group of seventeen international human rights and transparency groups, including the Sunlight Foundation, EFF, Free Press, Open State Foundation, Human Rights Watch, and others, who reminded Twitter that what politicians say is a matter of public record.

Additionally, the groups pointed out in an open letter to Twitter, the courts have long upheld this same opinion, and that citizens’ rights to information should outweigh an “official’s right to a retroactive edit,” as they put it.

The decision to ban Politwoops painted Twitter in a bad light. It made it clear that the company cared more about keeping high-profile users – like politicians and diplomats – on its service, rather than supporting the efforts of organizations advocating government transparency.

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Source: TechCrunch - Sarah Perez

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