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Politwoops is back!

Return of Politwoops brings with it added political accountability and transparency

We’re starting 2016 off with a win!

Remember Politwoops: The archive of politicians’ deleted tweets that was blocked by Twitter earlier in 2015? Well, it’s back!

Back in September, OpenMedia expressed dismay at Twitter’s decision to block Politwoops, and joined a network of digital rights groups calling for Politwoops to be restored.

Four months later, it’s finally happened – and it’s a big deal. On New Year’s Eve, an agreement was reached with Twitter that has seen Politwoops restored. We think that’s a pretty great way to ring in the new year. Don’t you?

As of today, Politwoops is already back online in 25 countries. This may seem like just one of many issues we’re facing in trying to protect an open Internet, but having a public platform such as Twitter acknowledge the importance of transparency and accountability for public figures is critical for building the Internet that we want and deserve.

Here’s an excerpt from Access Now's blog:

Twitter has become a central component of the public record across the globe. This agreement demonstrates Twitter’s renewed commitment to transparency, and it’s an important step forward for one of the largest social media companies in the world.

Debuting in 2009, Politwoops was created by the Netherlands-based non-profit Open State Foundation to record, store, and publish the deleted tweets of public officials. The tool has been used in 30 countries, and was adopted in the U.S. by Sunlight Foundation. But in May 2015, Twitter revoked Sunlight Foundation’s access to its Application Programming Interface, or API, and in August Twitter also shut off API access by Open State Foundation. Access Now worked with 46 organizations worldwide to campaign for restoring Politwoops, and negotiated with Twitter in good faith to reach a solution.

The groups behind Politwoops are now working to bring it back to life, and we hope the tool will be extended beyond the 30 countries where it had been active. The agreement clarifies the class of users whose deleted tweets could be tracked, and that class now includes public officials, not just elected representatives.

We’re looking forward to seeing what Politwoops, Twitter, and other projects supporting accountability and transparency have in store in 2016.

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