The Politwoops website, which launched in 2012 to keep tabs on tweets deleted by known politicians, saw its feed dry up in the middle of May with no announcement. After Gawker reporter J.K. Trotter began investigating the story this week, he got the answer that Politwoops’ founders, the “government transparency” non-profit Sunlight Foundation, hadn’t: Twitter itself revoked the site’s access to Twitter’s API.
“We strongly support Sunlight’s mission of increasing transparency in politics and using civic tech and open data to hold government accountable to constituents,” a Twitter representative told Gawker on Wednesday, “but preserving deleted Tweets violates our developer agreement. Honoring the expectation of user privacy for all accounts is a priority for us, whether the user is anonymous or a member of Congress.”
The lesson here is to screencap everything — because social media sites can’t be trusted to keep public officials’ public records public.