Twit­ter bans site sav­ing politi­cians’ deleted posts

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The Polit­woops web­site that saved tweets deleted by politi­cians said Mon­day that Twit­ter had blocked its ac­cess to the so­cial media gi­ant, halt­ing its oper­a­tions across 30 coun­tries.

The Open State Foun­da­tion started Polit­woops in the Nether­lands in 2010, and its col­lec­tion of deleted tweets proved a fre­quent source of em­bar­rass­ment for politi­cians, as well as a use­ful tool for jour­nal­ists.

But the foun­da­tion said it was in­formed on Fri­day night by Twit­ter that ac­cess was be­ing shut off to Polit­woops in the 30 coun­tries in which it op­er­ates, fol­low­ing the block­ing of Polit­woops’ U. S. op­er­a­tion in May.

It said Twit­ter was also block­ing Di­plot­woops, which screens deleted mes­sages by diplo­mats and em­bassies world­wide.

The Open State Foun­da­tion said it was told that Twit­ter had de­cided to sus­pend ac­cess “fol­low­ing thought­ful in­ter­nal de­lib­er­a­tion and close con­sid­er­a­tion of a num­ber of fac­tors that doesn’t dis­tin­guish be­tween users.”

“No one user is more de­serv­ing of that abil­ity ( to delete tweets) than another. In­deed, delet­ing a tweet is an ex­pres­sion of the user’s voice,” Twit­ter told the foun­da­tion.

Since be­ing formed at a so­called hackathon five years ago, Polit­woops spread to 30 coun­tries from Egypt to the Vat­i­can, as well as the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

It started op­er­at­ing in the U. S. in 2012 thanks to the Sun­light Foun­da­tion, which fights for trans­parency in pol­i­tics.

In a state­ment to AFP, Twit­ter said that “the abil­ity to delete one’s tweets — for what­ever rea­son — has been a long- stand­ing fea­ture of Twit­ter for all users.”

Twit­ter pol­icy says that those who have ac­cess to its APIs ( ap­pli­ca­tion pro­gram in­ter­faces), as Polit­woops did, must delete con­tent “that Twit­ter re­ports as deleted or ex­pired.”

“From time to time, we come upon apps or so­lu­tions that vi­o­late that pol­icy. Re­cently we iden­ti­fied sev­eral ser­vices that used the fea­ture we built to al­low for the dele­tion of tweets to in­stead archive and high­light them,” Twit­ter said.

“We sub­se­quently in­formed these ser­vices of their non­com­pli­ance and sus­pended their ac­cess to our APIs.”

Open State Foun­da­tion di­rec­tor Ar­jan El Fassed in­sisted com­ments made by politi­cians on Twit­ter should re­main in the public do­main.

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

“What politi­cians say in public should be avail­able to any­one,” El Fassed added.

“This is not about ty­pos but it is a unique in­sight on how mes­sages from elected politi­cians can change with­out no­tice.”

A check on the Polit­woops web­site on Mon­day showed no ac­tiv­ity for the past two days.

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