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.