Group restarts tool tracking deleted tweets of US politicians

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The Sunlight Foundation's tool to catch and save the deleted tweets of lawmakers and political candidates is back online in the United States. 

In late December, Twitter came to an agreement with a group of transparency groups to allow the tool, known as Politwoops, to restart — a reversal after the social media company last year essentially killed it off for violating its terms of service.  

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"Just in time for the New Hampshire primary, we’ll be back to tracking and posting deleted tweets from political figures so that the public can hold them accountable for the statements they make on Twitter," The Sunlight Foundation said in an announcement

The Open State Foundation, which runs the tool in dozens of other countries, restarted its tool back in early January. But the United States version, run by the Sunlight Foundation, had not been active until Tuesday. 

The foundation said the tool would now archive every deleted tweet, even typos that have been corrected. It currently tracks Senate and House members, presidential candidates and governors. But it wants to expand that to administration officials and state lawmakers in the future. 

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 Politwoops 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. Twitter's new guidelines offers that exception.