Twitter CEO Responds to Pressure from Rights Groups

San Francisco – Today Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledged his company’s support for free expression, accountability, and transparency. His statement — including an explicit mention of Politwoops, the politician accountability tool — is a clear response to grassroots pressure, including an open letter signed by 50 global groups in support of Politwoops.

“Twitter clearly intends to take accountability and transparency seriously,” said Deji Olukotun, Senior Global Advocacy Manager for Access. “But there’s more to do. We hope Twitter can make real commitments to support tools like Politwoops that operate in the public interest, and which are essential for true accountability in the digital age.”

“We welcome Twitter’s commitment to human rights and its recognition of its role in facilitating free expression and greater accountability in government,” explained Peter Micek, Global Policy and Legal Counsel at Access. “Now we hope the company will take concrete steps to restore trust, including creating pathways for the public to use Twitter to hold all candidates for public office and government officials accountable for their public statements. We look forward to working with Twitter to make their platform more responsive to user rights.”


In 2010, the Netherlands-based Open State Foundation created the Politwoops tool to publish Tweets deleted by politicians. From then onwards, the Open State Foundation rolled out Politwoops with the help of individuals and organizations in 32 countries, including the Sunlight Foundation in the U.S. Twitter then revoked the ability of the Sunlight Foundation to use its API in May 2015 and it revoked the Open State Foundation’s access to the API on August 21.

In September, a major coalition of rights groups from five continents came out in support of Politwoops, calling on Twitter in an open letter to restore API access to the digital accountability tool. Signers from global digital rights and transparency organizations include Access, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, Human Rights Watch, Sunlight Foundation, and Open State Foundation — the original creator of Politwoops.

Other major signers include Alternatif Bilisim (Turkey), Art 34-bis (Italy), Asociacion por los Derechos Civiles (Argentina), Blueprint for Free Speech (Australia), Derechos Digitales (Latin America), Jinbonet (Korea), OpenMedia (Canada), Paradigm Initiative (Nigeria), Pirate Party (Turkey), and Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales (Mexico).


Media contacts

Peter Micek
Global Policy and Legal Counsel, Access
[email protected]
tel: +1-888-414-0100 x709

Deji Olukotun
Senior Global Advocacy Manager, Access
[email protected]
tel: +1 415-935-4572