Twitter announced on Thursday that it was restoring Politwoops‘ access to the social media site.
Politwoops is a social media tool created by the Washington D.C.-based Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to accountability and transparency in politics.
The tool used Twitter’s Application Program Interface (API) to save the tweets of politicial figures even after they have been deleted.
Twitter suspended Politwoops’ access to their API in May because it said saving the deleted tweets of any user violated the social media company’s user agreement.
“Honoring the expectation of user privacy for all accounts is a priority for us, whether the user is anonymous or a member of Congress,” Twitter said at the time.
Furthermore, Twitter argued that the threat of embarrassing tweets being preserved could deter users.
“Imagine how nerve-racking — terrifying, even — tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable?” Twitter said in a statement. “No one user is more deserving of that ability than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice.”
Human right’s and free speech activists condemned this decision and pointed out that politicians were already held to a different standard when it came to expectations of privacy.
Just a few months later in October, it seemed that Twitter was having a change of heart.
At Twitter’s annual flight conference, CEO Jack Dorsey stated that his company, as a social media tool, had a responsibility for transparency.
“We have a responsibility to communicate our roadmap in a clear and transparent way to everyone in this community,” Dorsey said. “We have a responsibility to have an open dialogue with you to make sure we are serving you in the best way. We have a responsibility to continue to empower organizations that bring more transparency to public dialogue, such as Politwoops,” he continued. “We need to make sure we are serving all these organizations and developers in the best way, because that is what will make Twitter great. We need to listen, we need to learn, and we need to have this conversation with you. We want to start that today.”
The Sunlight Foundation praised this reversal in a blog post on their website.
“Politwoops is an important tool for holding our public officials accountable for the statements they make online, and we’re happy to announce that we, along with our partners at Open State Foundation and Access Now, have reached an agreement with Twitter that paves the way for us to bring Politwoops back online both here in the U.S. and internationally,” the blog post statement said.
[Digital Trends] [Business Insider] [The Sunlight Foundation] [Twitter]