A site that republished deleted tweets from public figures has stopped its service after a cease and desist demand from Twitter. PostGhost was told it fundamentally violated the terms and conditions of the Twitter API.
The service was designed to highlight tweets that politicians and other celebrities had made and then removed. The theory was that often such public figures made posts and then deleted them after receiving a negative reaction. PostGhost’s philosophy was that such deletions made it harder for such people to be held to account for their comments.
The site archived all tweets deleted by verified users with public accounts and more than 10,000 followers, though it stopped some of those users who it determined were not public figures. It covered all deleted tweets except those which were “hateful, pornographic, contain personal information, or are illegal under U.S. law.”
While there doesn’t appear to be any criminal or civil wrong in republishing such tweets, the service has been effectively cut off by Twitter barring PostGhost from using its API to automatically filter and retrieve the content. Its developer agreement requires API users to follow and reflect the actions of Twitter users, including deleting tweets.
PostGhost says it will cease its service, but argues that doing so will make it much harder to prove that a public figure really did make then delete a tweet. It says such people will now be able to falsely claim that a screenshot of the original tweet is a fake.