The micro-blogging site Twitter has reversed its controversial decision to ban popular tool Politwoops that archived politicians' deleted social media updates to bring more transparency to public dialogue.
Politwoops is the only comprehensive collection of deleted tweets by politicians that offers a window into what they hoped you did not see. New CEO Jack Dorsey in October last year spoke about Twitter's responsibilities to developers and users in the areas of government transparency.
"We have a responsibility to continue to empower organisations that bring more transparency to public dialogue, such as Politwoops," he reiterated. In a latest post on Thursday, Colin Crowell, vice president for global public policy at Twitter, wrote that the company is pleased to announce an agreement with the Sunlight Foundation and the Open State Foundation around Politwoops.
Politwoops is supposed to be accessible in the "coming days and weeks", according to the watchdog group the Sunlight Foundation. "Politwoops is an important tool for holding our public officials, including candidates and elected or appointed public officials, accountable for the statements they make.
We are glad that we have been able to reach an agreement with Twitter to bring it back online both in the US and internationally," said Jenn Topper, communications director for the Sunlight Foundation. This agreement is great news for those who believe that the world needs more transparency.
"Our next step is now to continue and expand our work to enable the public to hold public officials accountable for their public statements," added Arjan El Fassed, director of watchdog group Open State Foundation that launched Politwoops in more than 30 countries since 2010.
Brett Solomon, executive director of the global digital rights organisation Access Now, said that in many parts of the world, Twitter is a central component of the public record. "Re-establishing a mechanism to record, store and publish deleted tweets of politicians and public officials further demonstrates Twitter's commitment to transparency and political accountability," he wrote.
As Twitter becomes a more important platform for political discourse, it is essential that politicians and public official's tweets remain online and accessible to the general public. "We look forward to continuing our work with these important organisations and using Twitter to bring more transparency to public dialogue," Crowell noted.