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Twitter makes it easier for politicians to cover their tracks

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Politwoops

Twitter has revoked the API access of a group of sites geared towards archiving the deleted tweets of politicians around the world.

The Open State Foundation - which oversees the network known as Politwoops - received notification of the suspension on Friday night.

The decision affects the UK-based @deletedbyMPs account as well as a host more sites in Canada, Ireland, Egypt, Norway, Tunisia and South Korea. The US arm had been shut down a couple of months ago.

The Dilplotwoops network, which did the same for deleted tweets from diplomats had also been shut down (via The Verge).

Twitter reportedly told the group that even politicians had the right to delete tweets as part of their freedom of speech.

"Imagine how nerve-racking — terrifying, even — tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable?" Twitter has apparently said.

"No one user is more deserving of that ability than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice."

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The OSF director Arjan El Fassed responded to the suspension by claiming its sites had offered a ‘unique insight’ into how politicians can change tact.

He said: "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."

Mr El Fassed also commented the tool had become a valuable resource for journalists, while Jules Mattsson of the @deletedbyMPs account told The Guardian the decision was a “terrible shame.”

He added: “Politwoops has been an important new tool in political accountability in the UK and abroad. Politicians are all too happy to use social media to campaign, but if we lose the ability for this to be properly preserved, it becomes a one-way tool."

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