Twitter and Politwoops Reach Agreement to Hold Politicians Accountable

What politicians delete on social media could indicate more about their capacity to lead than the ideas they promote openly.

Social media has done a lot to keep politicians honest, and it may have even made them reluctant to interact with voters. However, one of the websites holding politicians accountable for their social media content, Politwoops, had its Twitter API access revoked in August. But politicians shouldn’t feel safe since Politwoops is back, and with the full support of Twitter.

In a post from Dec. 31, Twitter announced that it would reinstate Politwoops’ API access. CEO Jack Dorsey said at a conference in October of last year:

We have a responsibility to communicate our roadmap in a clear and transparent way to everyone in this community [..] We have a responsibility to continue to empower organizations that bring more transparency to public dialogue, such as Politwoops. 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.

The company behind Politwoops, Open State Foundation made a statementing noting that the service would be back up and running in more than 30 countries in “the coming months.”

So far, it seems that the service is already back up, but currently only in the European Union. The service will be active in the U.S. in “more a matter of days or weeks,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. It remains unclear if archiving will begin before the start of the Caucuses and Primaries in February.

Arjan El Fassed, director of the Open State Foundation, said in a statement:

Our next step is now to continue and expand our work to enable the public to hold public officials accountable for their public statements.

Indeed, the return of Politwoops may have bigger impacts than just for those running for office.

Given that this year’s presidential election may be the most social media engaged yet, tools like Politwoops could serve as an important archive for voters. While it’s practically impossible for candidates to maintain a squeaky clean record during a race, what they delete could indicate more about their capacity to lead than the ideas they promote openly.