Twitter Reinstates Service That Captures Politicians' Deleted Tweets

PHOTO: In this photo illustration, The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device.Getty Images
In this photo illustration, The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device.

Twitter announced Thursday morning it had struck a deal with The Sunlight Foundation to reinstate the curation service Politwoops, which archives politicians' deleted tweets.

Colin Crowell, Twitter's vice president for Global Public Policy, revealed the agreement on the company's blog this morning, saying Twitter aimed to increase the ability of third parties like Politwoops "to bring more transparency to public dialogue."

"Sunlight is very excited to get Politwoops up and running again," Sunlight Foundation Communications Director Jenn Topper told ABC News. "We're happy that Twitter recognized the value of tools like this in empowering civic dialogue."

Politwoops launched in 2012 and has been credited with freezing numerous tweets politicians had tried to make disappear. In July of 2014, it captured an Arizona congressional candidate mistaking a school bus of students for Central American migrants; in 2013 it snagged Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) trading tweets during the State of the Union with a woman whom Cohen then admitted he believed to be a previously-undisclosed daughter. And after the story of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's release was complicated by allegations of desertion, Politwoops surfaced deleted tweets from a half-dozen elected officials welcoming him home.

WHAT TO KNOW
  • Twitter announced Thursday morning it had struck a deal with The Sunlight Foundation to reinstate the curation service Politwoops, which archives politicians' deleted tweets.

Twitter unexpectedly revoked access to its API last June. In a "eulogy" post, Sunlight Foundation President Christopher Gates said he was "mystified" by the reversal and had not received an explanation from the company.

Following criticism over the decision, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey specifically mentioned Politwoops during October remarks about increasing the platform's transparency.

"We have a responsibility to continue to empower organizations that bring more transparency to public dialogue, such as Politwoops," Dorsey said at the time. "We need to make sure we are serving all these organizations and developers in the best way."

No timeline has been announced for Politwoops' reinstatement.