View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
  2. Networks
August 24, 2015

Twitter shuts down political retweeting accounts across Europe

Politwoops and Diplotwoops will no longer publish deleted tweets from public servants.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Twitter shut down a service for tracking the deleted tweets of politicians in 30 countries on Monday in a bid to hand back control to public servants.

Politwoops and Diplotwoops were rendered inoperable by the social network after access to Twitter’s APIs [application programming interfaces] was revoked, affecting countries including the UK, Ireland and many other countries around Europe.

Under the service public officials accounts were monitored and deleted tweets were reposted, exposing both typos and more politically embarrassing messages.

However Twitter decided that the service removed control of the micro-blogging platform from the individuals holding the respective accounts.

"Ultimately, Twitter’s decision was guided by the company’s core value to Defend and respect the user’s voice. The ability to delete one’s tweets – for whatever reason – has been a long-standing feature of the Twitter service," the social network said to the Open State Foundation, which ran the accounts.

"Imagine how nerve-racking – terrifying, even – tweeting would be if it was immutable and irrevocable? No one user is more deserving of that ability than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice."

This reasoning provoked criticism from Arjan El Fassed, director of the civil rights group, which is based in Amsterdam.

Content from our partners
Why food manufacturers must pursue greater visibility and agility
How to define an empowered chief data officer
Financial management can be onerous for CFOs, but new tech is helping lighten the load

"What elected politicians publicly say is a matter of public record. Even when tweets are deleted, it’s part of parliamentary history. These tweets were once posted and later deleted," he said.

"What politicians say in public should be available to anyone. This is not about typos but it is a unique insight on how messages from elected politicians can change without notice."

The Open State Foundation said it would seek new ways to keep politicians’ deleted messages available, but did not go into details.

At present Twitter is facing a major management shakeup following the departure of chief executive Dick Costolo.

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.
THANK YOU