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The website that foils politicians who (try to) delete their tweets
Lawmakers, beware! A new journalistic outfit is cataloging your most regrettable 140-character dispatches
 
After 46 seconds, President Obama deleted his retweet of campaign manager Jim Messina's boast that "we've gained more Twitter followers in the past three weeks than @mittromney has total."
After 46 seconds, President Obama deleted his retweet of campaign manager Jim Messina's boast that "we've gained more Twitter followers in the past three weeks than @mittromney has total."
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Everyone makes mistakes, and politicians are no exception. And now, a new website called "Politwoops" is trying the nerves of U.S. lawmakers by cataloging all their regrettable, deleted tweets. Here's what you need to know about the illuminating, obsessive — and often hilarious — new tracker that has Washington abuzz:

What does the site do?
"From minor typos to major gaffes, Politwoops is now there to offer a searchable window into what [politicians] hoped you didn't see," say the archive's creators. The site has tallied more than 3,000 tweets in the past six months, ranging from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) mockery of Russian President Vladimir Putin for shedding tears after the last election (deleted after 2 minutes) to one of Obama's ill-advised humble brags on Iran (deleted after 59 seconds). If a politician sends a gibberish "pocket tweet," boringly corrects a spelling error, or mistakenly sends a racy public message intended to be private, Politwoops will be there to catalog it.

Who made it?
The website is the brainchild of The Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to government transparency. Politwoops is modeled after a similar website in the Netherlands.

How does it work?
"The site scrapes the accounts of every pol with a Twitter account (and everyone currently or formerly running for the presidency)," says Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. When any of those Twitter accounts deletes a message, Politiwoops posts it, along with details on when the tweet was posted, how long it took to be deleted, and whether it was posted from a phone or computer.

Who is the most egregious Twitter offender?
It's hard to tell at this stage, but the Obama campaign has eight deletions under its belt, while Romney's camp has only one. Take a look here.

Sources: ABC News, Gizmodo, LA Times, The Sunlight Foundation

 

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