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Twitter Tries To Help Politicians Delete Tweets Forever, But It Won’t Work

Twitter Tries To Help Politicians Delete Tweets Forever, But It Won’t Work
[Photo: Flickr user Rodney Campbell; App Photo: NASA Commons]

A network of websites that automatically archived the deleted tweets of politicians has lost access to Twitter’s API, VentureBeat reports.

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Open State Foundation, which created the network of sites known as Politwoops, is arguing that social media posts by politicians–even deleted ones–are part of the public record.

“What politicians say in public should be available to anyone,” said Open State Foundation director Arjan El Fassed. “This is not about typos but it is a unique insight on how messages from elected politicians can change without notice.”

Twitter, however, disagrees. In a note to Open State Foundation about its decision to revoke API access, the company wrote:

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.

The problem with Twitter’s logic is that tweeting is “immutable and irrevocable.” And it is terrifying! Tweets can be (and frequently are) captured by screenshots and quoted in other tweets. Twitter can make it harder to automate this process by revoking API access, but claiming that any tweet can truly be erased is disingenuous on Twitter’s part.

As we witness the continued fallout from the Ashley Madison data hack–Toronto police are even investigating two suicides that may be connected to the leak–it’s important to remember that nothing posted on the Internet can truly be expunged. Especially something published to a highly public platform like Twitter.

[via VentureBeat]

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