Sunlight Foundation rips Twitter for pulling plug on lawmaker archive

by Mario Trujillo  |  published on June 5, 2015


The Sunlight Foundation took a sharp jab at Twitter on Thursday after the social media company effectively killed Politwoops, a tool from the group that had tracked lawmakers’ deleted tweets.

In a “eulogy” to the 3-year-old project, the Sunlight Foundation said the decision is a “reminder of how the Internet isn’t truly a public square.”

“We will honor Twitter’s latest decision, but it stands at odds with a fundamental understanding of our democracy,” the group’s President Christopher Gates said. “A member of Congress does not and should not have the same expectation of privacy as a private citizen. Power can only be accountable with a generous application of transparency.”

Twitter revoked the Sunlight Foundation’s permission to use its application program interface (API), which allows access to Twitter’s stream and allows developers to build programs around it. The company quietly pulled the plug on the API about three weeks ago. And Twitter on Wednesday said it would not restore it because the project violates its developers’ agreement.

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