Improving How Politwoops Displays Retweets


A deleted retweet captured by Politwoops from Karen Handel, a challenger for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.Politwoops, our project to archive the deleted tweets by U.S. politicians, is now more useful than ever as it includes a link to help you find the source of retweets. We also fixed a minor bug that was cutting off some links and messing up screenshots.

Whenever a politician retweets something and then thinks better of it, we will now include a link back to the original tweet, as seen in the example in the upper right from earlier today by Senate challenger Karen Hadel, R-Ga. She retweeted a fan who asks if she can be cloned and then deleted it, but you can now follow the link labeled “Original tweet by @FiercelyRight” to see that the source is still live.

Every deletion you see on Politwoops was reviewed and approved by Sunlight staff who do their best to ensure that the politician’s account was the one that removed the tweet. When a politician retweets someone and the original tweet is removed, our Politwoops system flags it as if the politician deleted it since the tweet has disappeared. The goal of Politwoops is to archive tweets deleted by politicians so we try to hide these false positives.

We often see a spike of these false positives following an election as politicians often retweet supporters who proudly shared their votes with the public, only to remove them if they mentioned a losing candidate. You won’t find these on Politwoops since they were deletions from citizens. We’ll keep the identities of the voters safe, but following the 2012 elections there were quite a number of folks scrubbing these digital bumper stickers. A Republican voter who was retweeted by Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, deleted “Just voted for @MittRomney/@PaulRyanVP and @tedcruz Couldn’t be more freakin’ excited. #RomneyRyan2012” and a Democrat retweeted by the failed Senate campaign of Paul Sadler, D-Texas, deleted “@SadlerTX I just voted for you in my first election! Go young voters! #ElectionDay #GObama #VOTE.”

Thank you to Drew for his continued work on Politwoops and hope you enjoy the new and improved site!