Twitter has shut off the ability of more than two dozen accounts to track and repost tweets deleted by politicians and other officials in 30 countries around the world, including Canada.
Christopher Parsons, a fellow at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, said Twitter’s decision shows that the company “is unwilling to have its API routinely used to monitor what people have tried to delete.
“It appears as though Twitter is saying, ‘Look we know it’s possible, but we don’t want it being done.’ ”
According to Parsons, the weekend Twitter closures may force groups to analyze the different reasons tweets are deleted, rather than posting all deletions automatically, which could change the data’s impact.
“The way in which (the information is) published can be very different, the context can be much broader, and depending on the intent of the group in question, it could be more damning,” he said.
The debate, he added, shows the impact corporations such as Twitter can have on how public figures communicate with people.
“With the American election right now and the Canadian election going on, that’s where these sorts of deletions are often most interesting to the general public,” he said.