Still can't get a woop, woop! Twitter battered on matter of politi-natter scatter button

Groups step up scrap over gaffe-escape mechanism

Digital rights groups are putting pressure on Twitter to restore API access to gaffe-watcher websites Politwoops and Diplotwoops.

The so-called digital accountability tool tracks elected politicians from 30 countries and makes their deleted tweets visible.

Last month, Twitter informed the Open State Foundation (OSF), which runs the sites, that it was suspending API access because tweeting would be “nerve-racking, terrifying, even” for politicians if they couldn’t take back tweets.

The microblogging site added that it doesn’t distinguish between users.

“No one user is more deserving of that ability [to delete] than another. Indeed, deleting a tweet is an expression of the user’s voice,” said Twitter in a letter to the OSF.

Now digital rights and transparency groups including Access, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, Human Rights Watch and the Sunlight Foundation have signed an open letter demanding that API access should be restored.

Arjan El Fassed, exec director of OSF, accused Twitter of abandoning the values of “the right to information, free speech and privacy”.

“The principles of accountability and transparency had the rug swept out from under them,” added Peter Micek, senior policy counsel at digi rights group Access. “We have lost a measure of trust in Twitter as a platform for free expression and innovation after this off-course decision.”

Twitter had not responded to a request for comment at time of publishing. ®

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