Introducing Politwoops for the Irish Election

Donie O’Sullivan / @donie

The fundamental role of a free press is to hold institutions, elected officials, and those seeking office to account; Politwoops plays an important role in this

Social media has revolutionized political discourse and political campaigning. During elections, candidates use social media to fundraise, organise, and impress.

The fundamental role of a free press is to hold institutions, elected officials, and those seeking office to account. Candidates such as Donald Trump are now able to bypass the “gatekeepers” of old, and bring their message directly to voters, no longer needing to rely on television networks, radio stations, or newspapers. The ability for candidates to speak directly to voters online has been heralded as a revolution in democratic discourse; however, it has not come without its challenges.

Unlike a stump speech that may be recorded by television cameras, or election leaflets that are distributed to voters in their thousands, promises and pledges made online can be deleted at the click of a button.

Today, Storyful, in partnership with the Open State Foundation, is delighted to announce Politwoops for the Irish elections. Politwoops records, stores, and publishes tweets deleted by candidates. The tool has been used effectively in the United States and countries across the world to increase transparency and accountability. We hope it will serve the same purpose in Ireland.

Tweets are normally deleted due to typos and trivial mistakes; however, occasionally politicians delete tweets in an attempt to distance themselves from prior statements (see here, for example).

Watch how we built the Storyful Irish Election Open Database, the tool that powers Politwoops for the Irish election

In November, we held a codeathon at Storyful Dublin where our product team built the infrastructure and website for the Irish Election Open Database — an open-source database of Irish election candidates. Storyful journalists, along with students from Dublin City University, populated the database, gathering information, including social media profiles, of more than 400 candidates running across Ireland’s 40 constituencies.

Open State Foundation powers politwoops.eu, which tracks tweets deleted by politicians across Europe. Using the Storyful Irish Election Open Database, maintained by our journalists, Open State will record and publish tweets deleted by Irish candidates.

You can access Politwoops here and you can check out the Irish Election Open Database here. If you would like more information about these projects you can email me here.

Follow this Twitter account to see tweets as they are deleted.