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.
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 Twitter.com 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…