Social media has revolutionised political discourse and political campaigning. Unlike a stump speech that may be recorded by television cameras, or election leaflets that are distributed to voters in their thousands, promises and pledges made online can be deleted at the click of a button. Occasionally politicians delete tweets in an attempt to distance themselves from prior statements.
Politwoops, a tool developed by Open State Foundation, records, stores and publishes Twitter postings erased by election candidates and politicians. It also tracks the time between when they were posted and when they were deleted. Politwoops has proven to be an incredibly useful tool for journalists and citizens holding politicians to account, especially during elections.
Since 2010, starting with the Dutch parliament, Open State Foundation has expanded the tool to include politicians and public officials in more than 30 countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Chile and Tunisia. It also tracks the tweets of members of the European Parliament, with the aim of increasing accountability.