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Politwoops’ return means tweeting politicians need to watch out again

A popular service that posts deleted tweets from elected officials is up and running again after an enforced eight-month absence.

“Just in time for the New Hampshire primary, we’ll be back to tracking and posting deleted tweets from political figures so that the public can hold them accountable for the statements they make on Twitter,” the non-profit Sunlight Foundation, which runs the service, announced on Tuesday.

Politwoops screencap

Politwoops and its archive of deleted Twitter content had gained quite a following after launching in 2012, but last May the social media company blocked it from using its API, thereby ending access to the deleted material. It did this on the grounds that posting the deleted tweets of any user was a violation of its 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,” Twitter said at the time.

Politwoops Frank Guinta

One of the aims of Politwoops is to promote political transparency and give “a more intimate perspective on our politicians and how they communicate with their constituents,” the foundation says on its site.

While many of the politicians’ deleted posts are little more than simple typos (the foundation says it’s planning to implement a filtering system to weed these out), others can include anything from embarrassing comments to nonsensical ramblings to misjudged statements sometimes posted in the heat of the moment.

Deleted tweets come from Senate, House and presidential candidates, as well as governors and the D.C. mayor. “In the future we hope to expand that to executive branch officials and state legislators,” the foundation said Tuesday.

Related: Research reveals what tweets get deleted, and why

After Jack Dorsey took over as permanent CEO of Twitter in October, the San Francisco-based company reviewed the Politwoops situation, with the boss saying publicly his company had “a responsibility to continue to empower organizations that bring more transparency to public dialog.” Last month Twitter announced it’d reached an agreement with Politwoops, paving the way for this week’s relaunch.

With the election season already underway and the big vote coming in November – and with social media playing an ever-growing role in politics – there should be plenty of hastily deleted content landing on Politwoops as the year progresses.