archive_junta.py, the Fascist-Tweet-Archiving Script
archive_junta.py script runs on one of my spare laptops, constantly listening for new tweets on certain Twitter accounts associated with specific members of the current American corporatist junta. When new tweets on those accounts occur, it uses the Internet Archive to create an offsite copy of those tweets. At the beginning, it just watched Donald Trump's Twitter accounts; but I've been gradually expanding, in a non-systematic way, the scope of its areas of attention.
The full list of accounts currently archived the operation of this script on my spare laptop is:
|Account||Date archiving began||Dropbox index|
(easier to read)
(via Internet Archive)
|@realDonaldTrump||1 Feb 2017||here||here||here||Personal account of Donald Trump, who is unfortunately the president of the United States|
|@POTUS||1 Feb 2017||here||here||here||45th President of the United States|
|@mike_pence||22 Feb 2017||here||here||here||Personal account of Mike Pence, vice president of the United States|
|@VP||22 Feb 2017||here||here||here||Vice President of the United States|
|@GovPenceIN||22 Feb 2017||here||here||here||Pence's account that he used while governor of Indiana|
|@DanScavino||23 Mar 2017||here||here||here||Personal account for Trump's director of social media|
|@Scavino45||23 Mar 2017||here||here||here||Director of social media for Donald Trump|
|@FLOTUS||7 Apr 2017||here||here||here||First lady of the U.S.|
|@MELANIATRUMP||7 Apr 2017||here||here||here||PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST LADY OF THE U.S., WHO FOR SOME REASON LIKES TO PUT HER NAME IN CAPITAL LETTERS|
|@IvankaTrump||7 Apr 2017||here||here||here||Daughter to the junta leader, wife of his senior adviser, and (generally speaking) minister without portfolio|
|@IvankaTrumpHQ||7 Apr 2017||here||here||here||Business account for the Glorious Leader's daughter|
|@jaredkushner||7 May 2017||(has not yet tweeted)||Senior adviser to the POTUS, and husband of his more famous daughter|
|@SpeakerRyan||7 May 2017||here||here||here||Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives|
|@PRyan||7 May 2017||here||here||here||Personal account for the Speaker of the House|
|@AshLeeStrong||7 May 2017||here||here||here||Press secretary for Paul Ryan|
|@KellyannePolls||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Counselor and assistant to the president|
|@StephenMillerAL||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Assistant to the president and senior adviser for policy|
|@JessicaDitto45||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Assistant to the president and senior adviser for policy|
|@PressSec||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Press secretary|
|@WhiteHouse||4 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Official account for the White House, whatever that means exactly|
|@SecElaineChao||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation|
|@ElaineChao||22 Jun 2017||(has not yet tweeted)||Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation|
|@SecretarySonny||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Sonny Purdue, Secretary of USDA|
|@SecretaryZinke||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior|
|@SecretaryRoss||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce|
|@WilburRoss||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce|
|@SecretaryAcosta||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta|
|@SecretaryCarson||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||HUD Secretary Ben Carson|
|@RealBenCarson||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||HUD Secretary Ben Carson|
|@SecPriceMD||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Dr Thomas Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services|
|@RepTomPrice||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Dr. Thomas Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services|
|@TomBossert45||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Thomas Bossert, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism|
|@StephGrisham45||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Stephanie Grisham, Office of the First Lady & Director of Communications for Melania Trump|
|@EPAScottPruitt||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt|
|@SecondLady||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Second Lady Karen Pence|
|@FirstLadyIN||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Second Lady Karen Pence|
|@Scaramucci||29 Jul 2017||(not yet fully archived)||Anthony Scaramucci, White House Director-of-Communications-to=be|
My intent is to get a neutral third party to create publicly accessible backups of the tweets before they can be deleted, because a neutral third-party archive is a more credible source than a screenshot that I produced on my own computer and totally swear I didn't alter. (It's also easier to produce automatically.)
|@Reince||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Reince Preibus, former White House Chief of Staff|
|@Reince45||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Reince Preibus, former White House Chief of Staff|
|@seanspicer||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Sean Spicer, former press secretary|
Where can I see the tweets archived by your script?
The script produces an index for each account it tracks as it runs. These indices are in the
.csv format, which is easily importable into any spreadsheet program; they are hosted both on Dropbox and at the project's GitHub page. (The Dropbox-hosted copies should usually be automatically updated within a minute or so; the GitHub-hosted copies are easier to read from the web, but are usually only updated about once a day.) You can also search through the Internet Archive-hosted tweets using the Internet Archive's interface. Links to all of these options are available in the table above.
If you are unhappy with the display options, it's probably wisest to download the current .csv from Dropbox and search through it using your favorite spreadsheet program. If you want to have the ability to search directly from this webpage, contact me and make an offer to finance hosting such a service, and we'll talk.
If you want to see a tweet from me every time the script detects a deleted tweet from the junta, you can follow me on Twitter.
Why would you even bother to get a machine to archive these tweets in the first place?
Because words matter, especially the words spoken by elected officials; they have wide-ranging effects even after their material presence has evaporated into the ether. Donnie's profound contempt for facts and his repeated insistence on inventing them are both troubling, and I suspect that there's a connection with the surprisingly frequent deletion of his own posts on Twitter.
When The Donald deletes a tweet, that doesn't mean that the deleted words have had no effect; they still influence the thoughts and behavior of (at least some of) his supporters. All it really means is that the effect is harder to trace back to the suddenly absent cause. My thought is that producing an archive that's accessible to the public at an external source helps to reinforce, in a small way, the underlying discursive structures upon which a functioning democracy depends.
What do you think it means that Little Don-Don and his friends delete their tweets?
I think that depends entirely on which tweet we're talking about.
You will note that I have not claimed that tweets should never be deleted, nor that the removal of any particular post necessarily means anything that I'm qualified to talk about. You may also note that I have sometimes deleted my own tweets, usually—but not always—to correct a typographical error. (But then, I am not a government official, and so the standard for me is lower than it is for someone who has been given a large amount of public trust.) In any case, I think that preserving an archive of what our current president and his cadre say is very important, and it's relatively easy to do.
Should I myself run a copy of this script?
Maybe! As for me, I'm just running the script on a spare laptop in my apartment, and that's not a perfect setup: my electricity or Internet service could go out, or the laptop could overheat, or its old hardware might be running the script too slowly to catch a tweet before it's erased, or any number of other things could go wrong. Having several people—certainly more than a dozen or so would be overkill—all running this script (or taking similar actions) would provide a level of redundancy that would help to make always capturing every tweet at least once much more likely.
On the other hand, if way too many people decide to volunteer in this way, that would unnecessarily burden the infrastructures of both the Internet Archive and Twitter for little to no practical benefit. So my suggestion is this: if you plan to run another copy of this script, let me know (hit me up on Twitter), and I'll keep an up-to-date count (and/or tally) here.
To the best of my knowledge, there are currently no other people running this script remotely.
Given all of that, you can download the script on GitHub, if you'd like.
Does this script ensure there is a complete archive of all of Trump's (and the others') tweets?
No. There are at least two groups of tweets that the script is not archiving:
There are at least two other groups of potential problems that might, in theory, keep a tweet from being archived:
I don't currently have cause to believe that anything has been missed for any of the reasons above except for
very old tweets ... but then, if it did, how would I know? (This is part of why the reason why the redunancy of several other people running the script would be a good thing.)
Were all of the tweets I can see on the Internet Archive for these accounts saved by your script?
No. Anyone can save a web page to the Internet Archive at any time, and I am certainly not the only person who has decided to have the Internet Archive save copies of (some of) the junta's tweets. (Though, to the best of my knowledge, I am the first to think that doing so systematically is a good idea.)
How does it work?
Head on over to the GitHub project for more info!