Politwoops, run by the Sunlight Foundation, is a website that tracked tweets deleted by politicians — until Twitter pulled their access to the service. Now, Twitter is reversing course and restoring the chance to see what politicians don't want you to see.
Twitter announced in a blog post that they had reached an agreement with the Sunlight Foundation and the Open State Foundation allowing for Politwoops' return. The service pulled access to the organizations' API on June 3.
Some California politicians were caught by Politwoops before the site was shut down. In addition to tweets deleted due to things like broken links and typos, the site collected some embarrassing missives from politicians and their staffs, including a tweet from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, in which she (or her staff) referred to Africa as a country rather than a continent.
California Rep. Lois Capps made the Sunlight Foundation's best of 2013 Politwoops blog post with 64 deleted tweets, the third highest of any politician tracked by the service. The post noted that most of them were due to her Facebook account being linked with her Twitter account, resulting in weirdly formatted tweets that were also often truncated and were soon deleted after they were posted.
Another to make the best of 2013 list — California Rep. Linda Sanchez, with a tweet of a Ways and Means Caucus meeting on Medicare, in which she (or her staff) complained about the number of acronyms being used and included a behind-the-scenes photo.
Politwoops also caught California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher getting hacked with Pinterest weight loss spam.
Still, Rohrabacher was able to laugh about it online:
"Politwoops is an important tool for holding our public officials, including candidates and elected or appointed public officials, accountable for the statements they make," Sunlight Foundation communications director Jenn Topper said.
In their blog post on the return of Politwoops, Twitter cited a statement made by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at their conference in October on the company's responsibilities when it comes to government transparency.
"We have a responsibility to continue to empower organizations that bring more transparency to public dialogue, such as Politwoops," Dorsey said.
Now Twitter appears to be making good on that statement, restoring Politwoops. It's not back up and running quite yet.
The Sunlight Foundation, which worked on the U.S. side of the service, said in a blog post that they will be working behind the scenes in the coming days and weeks to set Politwoops back up once again. Meanwhile, the Open State Foundation said they would relaunch the service in more than 30 countries in the coming months.
"This agreement is great news for those who believe that the world needs more transparency," Open State Foundation director Arjan El Fassed said.
Politwoops has a post collecting California politicians' "oops" tweets here. You can also keep an eye out for when the service starts collecting deleted tweets once again.