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Politicians Beware: Politwoops Has Returned to Twitter

The argument about exactly how accountable a person should be for what they say on social media continues to rage on. Last summer, a service called Politwoops, dedicated to saving and storing the unsavoury tweets of politicians was shut down by Twitter. At the time, Twitter made it clear that it did not condone any action that invalidated or undercut the ability to delete tweets. I imagine that after this news broke, a fairly sizable sigh of relief blustered forth from the political world.

Well, Twitter might not be such a safe haven for political figures with foot-shaped mouths anymore, as Politwoops has made a triumphant return. On New Year's Eve, Twitter announced that they had come to an agreement with the Open State Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation to dismantle the API blockade against deleted tweet tracking and bring Politwoops back. Not only that, but whereas previously Politwoops kind of just did its own thing, now it will be working in close partnership with Twitter.

Why now, you ask? There's one very big, election-shaped reason, but beyond that, this is largely the work of Jack Dorsey, now fully back in the CEO driving seat. At a conference in October, he said that Twitter had a responsibility to empower organisations which promote transparency, and Politwoops was the example he used. When Politwoops was originally shut down, Dorsey was neither CEO, nor did he have any kind of presiding influence over such decisions, which suggests that he probably didn't agree with the shutdown even when it happened, but wasn't able to do anything about it. 

Given everything that's been going on in the world of US politics in the time since Politwoops went down, this is going to be a game-changer. As the election intensifies, more and more scrutiny will be placed on how the candidates handle their PR. People like Donald Trump won't be safe from scrutiny (or ridicule) regardless of things like Politwoops, but both the Democrats and the Republicans will be on notice for the entire duration of the race. If any of them say anything off-colour, it will have wider implications, this is going to be the most heavily social media dependent election in US history, and transparency is going to play a vital role in that.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Politicians Beware: Politwoops Has Returned to Twitter Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, January 04, 2016 Rating: 5
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