Ethics Quote Of The Week: The Sunlight Foundation

We will honor Twitter’s latest decision, but it stands at odds with a fundamental understanding of our democracy. A member of Congress does not and should not have the same expectation of privacy as a private citizen. Power can only be accountable with a generous application of transparency.

—The Sunlight Foundation, announcing the demise of its service Politwoops, a site that tracked and preserved tweets deleted by hundreds of politicians.

Maybe a better logo would have helped...

Maybe a better logo would have helped…

Twitter, without explanation, changed its stance on Politwoops, which allowed the public to see tweets that politicians, upon reflection, decided that they didn’t want the news media, constituents or opponents to see.

Says the Sunlight Foundation:

What our elected officials say is a matter of public record, and Twitter is an increasingly important part of how our elected officials communicate with the public. This kind of dialogue between we the people and those who represent us is an important part of any democratic system. And even in the case of deleted tweets, it’s also a public part — these tweets are live and viewable by anyone on and other platforms for at least some amount of time….Politwoops was created because public communications from public officials should be available to anyone who wants to see them. The site isn’t just about blunders, but rather revealing a more intimate perspective on our politicians and how they communicate with their constituents. It has created a unique lens to reveal how the messages from elected officials can change without notice or explanation — because Politwoops did not allow for such reversal of messaging to quietly be swept under the rug.

But Twitter is a private business, and can make whatever policies it wants.

I wonder who got to them…

8 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Week: The Sunlight Foundation

  1. Hey, are they going to let everyone sweep their errors, even the criminal ones that police may want away? Erasing it doesn’t erase that they said it and I think politicians and celebrities need to think more before they speak.

    • Wow, that’s scary. It’s sickening, too. I think The Experiment is circling the drain. As for who got to them, I won’t reveal his name, but I’ll bet it begins with O, and ends with bama.

      • Not everything scary, sickening, and unethical origniates with the O man. If we are going to endulge in (baseless?) speculation how about the Clintion Foundation or a subset of the 535 menmbers of congress. The possibilities are endless!

        • Not everything scary sickening and unethical originates with Obama, a great deal of it originates with the Clinton’s. Some of it originates in our imagination and quite a bit of it originates with radical Islam. A soupçon originates with politics in general, about a teaspoon of it originates with illegal aliens, a pinch of it originates with Hollywood, a sprinkle of it originates with “intellectual” social engineers . . . I think I see what you mean.

      • You can try it, if you like, but I wouldn’t suggest it. These guys are “special” people and deserve “special” treatment. After all, the job of leading us into the future is a taxing (oops!) job, thankless and tiring, and they deserve all kinds of special perks and immunities. After all, they only have in mind what is best for the peons…er, that is, umh…the people. If you haven’t guessed by now, this is sarcasm, which skill I’m not all that good at.

        • Actually, I bet they feel they shouldn’t be held accountable for what their peons do. How many of those ‘blunders’ were made by the young, inexperienced peons who actually make the lawmakers tweets?

          Maybe I am getting old, but I have little respect for anything these twits put on Twitter. I have no respect for government officials who think Twitter is an appropriate venue for them to be communicating with their constituents. “There are no issues that can’t be seriously discussed and explained in 140 characters or less” is not a laudatory attitude in my opinion. Paul Dirac is supposed to have been asked by a student newspaper reporter if what he studied was difficult to understand. Dirac replied “yes”. When the reporter asked him “would you explain it in simple terms for our readers?” he replied “no”. Of course, Dirac might have thought Twitter was too verbose, as it was said “Es gibt keinen Gott und Dirac ist sein Prophet”

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