There are many politicians out there who would like to “forget” that they ever said something. There are also many citizens out there who claim that what politicians say is public record, seeking out to track and preserve their words for the sake of transparency. Twitter disagrees apparently – since June, the company has revoked API access to over 30 government transparency-seeking accounts, citing user privacy.
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The account was hugely popular and the latest accounts that were blocked (run by U.K.’s Open State Foundation) are no exception, as they too, archived and republished deleted tweets from politicians and other powerful people in over 30 countries.
Arjan El Fassed, Open State’s Director, explained that
[quote]“What elected politicians publicly say is a matter of public record,” . “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.”[/quote]
Twitter counters this argument with its API’s T&Cs, in that developers are not allowed to store deleted tweets.
[quote]“Honoring the expectation of user privacy for all accounts is a priority for us,” “whether the user is anonymous or a member of Congress.”[/quote]
The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) explains that although Twitter has always supported transparent and free speech it has played a role in censorship in several situations, seemingly colluding with governments to withhold information. Despite the internet’s valiant efforts to keep information free, it seems that even the media that are rooted in its freedom are not immune.
What is your take on this story? Do you think all tweets have a right to be deleted and never remembered?