When politicians or diplomats delete controversial tweets, should they be allowed to just disappear? Twitter seems to think so.
Though The Guardian reported that the San Francisco company shut down Politwoops, an American website run by Sunlight Foundation, back in May, archival sites were still operating in several other countries until just a few days ago.
According to an announcement posted Sunday to Open State Foundation, publisher of a companion site for diplomats called Diplotwoops, Twitter announced over the weekend that it has blocked access to Diplotwoops as well as Politwoops sites in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Portugal, Egypt, Estonia, France, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Macedonia, Norway, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey and the Vatican.
Open State Foundation revealed a portion of Twitter's statement to the organization said, "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."
"What elected politicians publicly say is a matter of public record," said Open State Foundation's director Arjan El Fassed. "Even when tweets are deleted, it’s part of parliamentary history. These tweets were once posted and later deleted. 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."