Twitter shuts down Politwoops, tool archiving tweets deleted by politicians

Clara Guibourg
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"Even when tweets are deleted, it's part of parliamentary history (Source: Getty)

Politicians can breathe a sigh of relief: Twitter just shut down Politwoops, a tool bringing politicians’ deleted tweets to light.

Politwoops pulled together deleted tweets for politicians from 30 countries around the world, but Twitter has now changed its API, suspending access for the tool.

The site has been aiming to get rid of the feature for some time, having already shut it down in the US in May on the basis that saving tweets that have been deleted by the user is a breach of the social network’s terms of agreement.

In the UK, the deleted tweets were available through the Twitter account @DeletedByMPs, but this was an international tool launched by Open State Foundation, an organisation promoting digital transparency.

Arjan El Fassed, the director of the organisation, expressed disappointment over Twitter’s move, saying politicians’ public comments “should be available to anyone”:

What elected politicians publicly say is a matter of public record. Even when tweets are deleted, it’s part of parliamentary history.

Twitter, for its part, argues everyone, even politicians, have the right to delete their comments, according to a statement:

Imagine how nerve-racking – terrifying, even – tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable?

City A.M. has contacted Twitter for direct comment, but the company has yet to respond.

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