One of the biggest operations for preserving politicians’ deleted tweets has been shut down. Then, this Sunday, Twitter dealt the final blow, killing the Open State Foundation’s effort to archive deleted tweets from public officials in 30 other countries. The company’s agreement specifically says software developers are required to take someone’s account at its face, and can not even note that a tweet “has been deleted”.
By effectively shutting down apps that showed politicians’ deleted tweets, Twitter is giving politicians more control over public speech, and at the cost of transparency, some digital media experts said.
Twitter defended the move against the Politwoops and Diplotwoops accounts by saying deleting tweets was “an expression of the user’s voice”.
Twitter ended the US web site’s entry to its API (software programme interface) which allowed it to see when a politician deleted a tweet, typically an indicator they’ve modified their thoughts or realised a mistake.
Over the weekend, the Open State Foundation republished parts of Twitter’s explanation that politician’s tweets should not be treated differently than those of the general public. But of course, those tweets never truly disappear after they’ve been published.
“This shouldn’t be about typos however it’s a distinctive perception on how messages from elected politicians can change with out discover”, El Fassed added. This latest round of pseudo-censorship targets the UK’s Open State Foundation, which operated the accounts in question.
Politwoops is an worldwide project that began in the Netherlands and subsequently expanded.
In a statement, Twitter said its decision followed a “thoughtful internal deliberation and close consideration of a number of factors”. Last year, it launched a similar service that covered embassies and diplomats, along with their Twitter activity, called Diplotwoops. “Our shared conversations on “public” platforms are increasingly taking place in privately owned and managed walled gardens, which means that the politics that occur in such conversations are subject to private rules”.
The British version of Politwoops is amongst the sites affected.
Twitter isn’t the first Web giant that has defended its users’ rights to privacy at journalists’ expense.
This reasoning provoked criticism from Arjan El Fassed, director of the civil rights group, which is based in Amsterdam.