You Social Media Posts are NOT Private

Last week, the Gawker reported that Twitter blocked Politiwoops from using its service.  Politiwoops is a service from the Sunlight Foundation (dedicated to transparent government) that tracks Tweets politicians delete.  Sometimes they are just “mistake” tweets (tweets with typos or accidental re-tweets), but others are politically charged/incorrect and potentially career threatening.  Politwoops would use Twitter’s API to log politician’s tweets and see if any of them disappear — then publicize those.  Twitter’s statement to Gawker on the reasoning for the block:

We strongly support Sunlight’s mission of increasing transparency in politics and using civic tech and open data to hold government accountable to constituents, but preserving deleted Tweets violates our developer agreement. Honoring the expectation of user privacy for all accounts is a priority for us, whether the user is anonymous or a member of Congress.

Unless your account at Twitter (or Facebook or any other social media outlet) is set explicitly to private, all of your postings are public — literally for the world to see.  There is no privacy and there should be no expectation of privacy.  If contraband is sitting in plain sight — in public — the police do not need a search warrant to seize such contraband.

Twitter should change their policy immediately and restore Politiwoops’ access.

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