After relaunching internationally last month, Politwoops is back in the US to track and post deleted tweets from politicians. It's good timing too, as the 2016 presidential race has starting getting nasty on Twitter. The service was created by government transparency nonprofits the Open State Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation with the goal of archiving what politicians say and then choose to scrub from the social network. However, Twitter blocked access to its APIs last August because "deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice," a company spokesperson said at the time.
Twitter's decision was met with heavy pushback last fall, and a number of advocacy groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Human Rights Watch signed an open letter alongside Politwoops' creators to ask Twitter to restore access for the service. CEO Jack Dorsey, when addressing a crowd of developers last November, said banning Politwoops was a mistake. One month later, Twitter announced it would help bring the service back.
Politwoops will now show every deleted tweet
Politwoops was back online early last month in 25 countries around the world. However, the Sunlight Foundation, which operates the US-version of the service, was only just able to restore Politwoops in the US. The group says Politwoops will now show every deleted tweet from the politicians it tracks, and not just a selection of them hand-picked by Sunlight staffers. "Right now that includes Senate, House and presidential candidates, as well as governors and the D.C. mayor," Jenn Topper, Sunlight's communications director, wrote in a blog post. Sunlight hopes to expand the number of politicians to include executive branch officials and state legislators. It's also working on a filtering system to avoid displaying tweets deleted for innocuous reasons, such as typos.