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 which the script currently attempts to archive is:
|Account||Date archiving began||Dropbox index|
(easier to read)
(via Internet Archive)
|@POTUS||1 Feb 2017||here||here||here||45th President of the United States|
|@realDonaldTrump||1 Feb 2017||here||here||here||Personal account of Donald Trump, who is unfortunately the president of the United States|
|@VP||22 Feb 2017||here||here||here||Vice President of the United States|
|@mike_pence||22 Feb 2017||here||here||here||Personal account of Mike Pence, 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 AS IF IT WERE AN ACRONYM. MAYBE IT *IS* AN ACRONYM AND WE JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT IT STANDS FOR|
|@IvankaTrump||7 Apr 2017||here||here||here||Daughter to the junta leader, wife of his senior adviser, and (generally speaking) minister without portfolio|
|@PRyan||7 May 2017||here||here||here||Personal account for the Speaker of the House|
|@SpeakerRyan||7 May 2017||here||here||here||Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives|
|@jaredkushner||7 May 2017||(has not yet tweeted)||Senior adviser to the POTUS, and husband of his more famous daughter|
|@AshLeeStrong||7 May 2017||here||here||here||Press secretary for Paul Ryan|
|@JessicaDitto45||21 May 2017||here||here||here||White House Deputy Director of Communications|
|@KellyannePolls||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Kellyanne Conway, counselor and assistant to the president|
|@PressSec||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Sarah Sanders, who has stopped using her maiden name as a middle name for some reason, perhaps because polls show a press secretary should tone down the folksy identity construction. Or perhaps not. Who knows?|
|@StephenMillerAL||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Assistant to the president and senior adviser for policy|
|@WhiteHouse||4 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Official account for the White House, whatever that means exactly|
|@SecElaineChao||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Secretary of Transportation|
|@ElaineChao||22 Jun 2017||(has not yet tweeted)||Secretary of Transportation|
|@SecondLady||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Second Lady Karen Pence|
|@FirstLadyIN||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Karen Pence’s account, used while she was First Lady of Indiana|
|@SecretaryCarson||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||HUD Secretary Ben Carson|
|@RealBenCarson||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Personal account for HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Also he shares this account with his wife, which is not at all creepy, and is totally appropriate given the Twitter handle on the account.|
|@SecretaryAcosta||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta|
|@SecretaryRoss||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce|
|@WilburRoss||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Personal account for the secretary of Commerce|
|@SecretarySonny||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Sonny Purdue, Secretary of USDA|
|@SecretaryZinke||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior|
|@StephGrisham45||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Stephanie Grisham, Director of Communications for Melania Trump & Former Deputy Press Secretary for Donald Trump|
|@TomBossert45||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Thomas Bossert, Homeland Security Adviser|
|@Scaramucci||29 Jul 2017||here||here||here||Anthony Scaramucci, who spent ten golden glorious perfect days as White House Director of Communications|
|@stevenmnuchin1||18 Aug 2017||here||here||here||secretary of the U.S. Treasury Dept.|
|@BetsyDeVosED||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||secretary of education|
|@BetsyDeVos||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||(apparently personal) account for the secretary of education|
|@SecretaryPerry||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||Rick Perry, secretary of Energy|
|@GovernorPerry||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||Rick Perry's former account, used when he was governor of Texas|
|@SBALinda||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||Administrator of the Small Business Administration|
|@Linda_McMahon||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||Personal account for the SBA administrator|
|@MickMulvaneyOMB||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||Director of the Office of Management and Budget|
|@nikkihaley||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||Soon-to-be-ex-US Ambassador to the United Nations|
|@SenDanCoats||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||Director of National Intelligence|
|@AmbJohnBolton||1 Apr 2018||here||here||here||National Security Adviser-designee|
|@Cabinet||1 Apr 2018||here||here||here||White House office of Cabinet Affairs|
|@SecAzar||1 Apr 2018||here||here||here||Alex Azar, Secretary of the Dept. of Health & Human Services|
|@DepSecHargan||1 Apr 2018||here||here||here||Eric Hargan, Deputy Secretary of the Dept. of Health & Human Services|
|@EnergyDepSec||1 Apr 2018||here||here||here||Deputy Secretary of Energy|
|@SecNielsen||1 Apr 2018||here||here||here||Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security|
|@statedeptspox||1 Apr 2018||here||here||here||Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the State Department.|
|@EPAAWheeler||24 Dec 2018||here||here||here||Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, reusing Scott Pruitt’s old account|
|@SecWilkie||24 Dec 2018||here||here||here||Secretary of Veterans Affairs|
|@SecPompeo||24 Dec 2018||here||here||here||Secretary of State|
|@DepSecDef||24 Dec 2018||here||here||here||Deputy Secretary of Defense|
|@jeffsessions||24 Dec 2018||here||here||here||Former Attorney General|
|@MattWhitaker46||24 Dec 2018||(has not yet tweeted)||Acting Attorney General|
|@USTradeRep||24 Dec 2018||here||here||here||Robert Lighthizer, US Trade Representative|
|@EPAScottPruitt||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (account apparently deleted)|
|@RepTomPrice||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Dr. Thomas Price, former secretary of Health and Human Services|
|@SecPriceMD||22 Jun 2017||here||here||here||Dr. Thomas Price, former secretary of Health and Human Services|
|@Reince||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Reince Priebus, former White House Chief of Staff|
|@Reince45||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Reince Priebus, former White House Chief of Staff (account apparently deleted)|
|@seanspicer||21 May 2017||here||here||here||Sean Spicer, former press secretary|
|@SecShulkin||11 Sept 2017||here||here||here||Former secretary of Veterans Affairs|
|@Comey||1 Apr 2018||here||here||here||James Comey, former FBI director|
|@IvankaTrumpHQ||7 Apr 2017||here||here||here||Business account for the Glorious Leader's daughter (account apparently deleted)|
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.)
Hey, there's someone who should be in the list above, but isn't!
Alas, maintaining this data is a hobby, not a revenue-generating activity, and it sometimes happens that I look up and say
Has it really been six months that I haven't made any updates? Holy jeez, how have the contents of the Clown Car changed in the last six months, exactly? And I then spend several hours updating everything and trying to make good archival decisions before disappearing for another month or so.
That being said, please contact me on Twitter and give me the verified Twitter account names of the people you think belong on this list if you notice I'm lagging on updates.
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. Currently, it's not possible to search deleted tweets from this page, but if you want make an offer to finance hosting such a service, we can talk.
If you want to see a tweet from me every time the script detects a deleted tweet from The Donald, you can follow me on Twitter. If you just want to see a list of all of the tweets that this script has noticed being deleted, they are available here.
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 and
sometimes my Internet connection goes down ... 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!