Politwoops back in 25 countries, still offline in US

Politwoops back in 25 countries, still offline in US
© Twitter

The Open State Foundation on Tuesday has once again begun capturing the deleted tweets of lawmakers in 25 countries around the world. 

The transparency group’s move to turn on the tool, called Politwoops, comes less than a week after it and other groups came to an agreement with Twitter that reversed the company’s earlier decision last year that effectively shuttered the archiving tool.

The U.S. version of Politwoops run by the Sunlight Foundation was still offline as of Tuesday morning. But the group has said it would work in the coming days and weeks to once again begin archiving the deleted tweets of members of Congress and candidates in the United States.  

The Open State Foundation, based in the Netherlands, originally developed Politwoops back in 2010. It now operates in a number of countries including the United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Chile, Ireland and Portugal. It also follows members of the European Parliament. 

“The understanding reached last week has been welcomed by all those who believe the world needs more political transparency,” said Arjan El Fassed, director of the Open State Foundation. “Our next step is to continue and expand our work to enable the public to hold public officials accountable for their public statements.”

After years of allowing Politwoops to operate, Twitter last year unexpectedly revoked use of its application program interface (API), which gave access to Twitter's stream and allowed developers to build the deletion archive around it. 

Twitter justified the move by saying the tool violated its privacy terms of service, but the explanation received harsh blowback from those who said the tweets of public officials should warrant an exception.