After only a few days of existence, deleted tweet archive PostGhost shut down after it was hit with a cease-and-desist letter from Twitter, reports TechCrunch.
According to the email it received from Twitter, PostGhost violated the social media platform’s Developer Agreement and Policy by recording deleted tweets. PostGhost not only archived tweets from politicians, but also from any verified user with over 10,000 followers.
Even though PostGhost complied with Twitter’s request to no longer display deleted tweets, the archive posted an open letter on its front page, in which it argued that such verified users are “public figures” who should be held accountable for what they say on Twitter.
“We believe that for such prominent verified Twitter users, the public has a right to see their public Twitter history, whether or not they grow to regret the statements they’ve made,” wrote PostGhost.
PostGhost went on to write that it provided a more transparent way of holding people accountable than Politwoops, which itself is a tweet archive that initially shut down in May 2015 before coming back to life in February. Run by the Sunlight Foundation, Politwoops aims to promote transparency by posting deleted tweets from politicians, regardless of who they are and what political party they affiliate themselves with.
Based on its actions, it appears that Twitter essentially takes the position that holding politicians accountable is a cause worth pursuing, but draws the line when it comes to influential figures who are not in politics but nonetheless make their political opinions known. As PostGhost notes, people like J.K. Rowling, who has 7.6 million followers, and Lindsay Lohan, who has over 9 million followers, post their political agendas on Twitter, so the logic follows that such people should be held just as accountable as politicians.