Twitter blocks 31 accounts tracking politicians' deleted tweets

Twitter has blocked a series of accounts that tracked and shared politicians' tweets which had been deleted. Twitter claims that the accounts broke its rules for apps connecting to the service.

Its developer agreement defines how data from the application program interface (API), which allows third-party apps access to Twitter data, may be used. One of those rules specifically addresses the issue of tracking deleted tweets - and says that it is not allowed. In a statement to the BBC, Twitter outlined the reasoning for the blocks.

"Recently, we identified several services that used the feature we built to allow for the deletion of tweets to instead archive and highlight them, we subsequently informed these services of their non-compliance and suspended their access to our APIs."

The move affected 31 accounts, which are all known as "Politwoops", a worldwide phenomenon that started out with a hackathon in the Netherlands, where the Open State Foundation (OSF) - which criticised the move by Twitter - is based. It spread across the world, including countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, where press freedom regarding government is all but non existent, and also included the UK-focused accounts, @DeletedbyMPs and @DeletedbyMSPs.

The OSF lamented the move, stating: "The majority of deleted tweets are typos which are not very interesting." Arjan El Fassed, director of the Open State Foundation, went on to tell the BBC: "But there are a few kept in the dark which say something about their political views."

The OSF has said they will explore options for a legal challenge, and investigate if the blocks can be bypassed through technical means.

Although it's a certainty that Twitter won't be backing down from this move any time soon, politicians around the world perhaps have a short term remedy for any "Politwoops" they might make in the near future.

Source: BBC

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