Twitter Archive

WikiLeaks' Twitter account was opened in early 2009. The first tweet dates from Feb 11 2009. Since then, WikiLeaks has used its Twitter account as one of the primary tools of its public relations: announcing leaks, informing its supporters, and issuing statements to various authorities. The WikiLeaks timeline, as written in its tweets, charts the development of the organization since early 2009.

As such, we believe that the WikiLeaks tweet timeline is a valuable historical document in its own right. The development of many of the events that continue to define WikiLeaks can be seen in incremental detail here. It also serves as a repository of links to coverage of WikiLeaks' publications which was compiled as the situation developed. Twitter's own website does not lend itself very well to reading back along the timeline. To read the first tweet, for example, you would have to scroll down for upwards of ten minutes.

As well as this there is a tweet-cap, after which Twitter no longer keeps your earliest tweets. As WikiLeaks reached this tweet-cap sometime in January 2011, the earliest WikiLeaks tweets have now started to disappear incrementally.

2011-06: Tweets in Jun 11

2011-05: Tweets in May 11

2011-04: Tweets in Apr 11

2011-03: Tweets in Mar 11

2011-02: Tweets in Feb 11

2011-02-14 WikiLeaks on the WikiLeaks Twitter case

Wikileaks has released the following in response to the Wikileaks Twitter case covered by WL Central here, here and here.

Mon Feb 14 18:28:37 2011 GMT

Tomorrow (Tuesday morning), a federal magistrates court in Virginia's national security heartland will be the scene of the first round in the US government's legal battle against Julian Assange. The US Attorney-General has brought an action against Twitter, demanding that it disclose the names, dates and locations of all persons who have used its services to receive messages from Wikileaks or Mr Assange. It is understood that Twitter will resist the order, so as to protect the privacy of its customers.

Assange said today "This is an outrageous attack by the Obama administration on the privacy and free speech rights of Twitter's customers - many of them American citizens. More shocking, at this time, is that it amounts to an attack on the right to freedom of association, a freedom that the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by the information released by Wikileaks, have found so valuable".

On December 14, 2010, the US Department of Justice obtained an Order requiring Twitter turn over records of all communications between Wikileaks and its followers. This Order was acquired through the use of the "Patriot Act", which establishes procedures whereby the Government can acquire information about users of electronic communication networks without a Search Warrant, without Probable Cause, without particularizing the records that relate to a proper investigatory objective—and with without any public scrutiny. The basis for the Order remains sealed and secret.

2011-01: Tweets in Jan 11

It is not acceptable the Guardian to blame us for a cable the Guardian selected and published on Dec 8

2011-01-27: Quantico Tweets from Jane Hamsher and David House from 2011-01-23

The following is a list of tweets published on the evening of Sunday 23rd of January 2011, relating an episode during which Jane Hamsher and David House, visitors to Quantico military facility, were harassed by military police.

David House's Tweets

2011-01-19 Unrest in Arab States [Update 1]

"The lesson from what's happening in Tunisia is that (Arab leaders) won't be able to hide any more behind the Islamist threat argument."

-Amel Boubekeur

If Tunisians are protesting for freedom, not religion, what role did Wikileaks and online social networks play in mobilizing Arab populations to throw off the shackles of authoritarian, repressive, and corrupt regimes? Are our western institutions responsible for the waves of protest threatening to drown capitals in the Middle East?.

2011-01-11 Ryan Singel on Twitter's Decision over WikiLeaks Subpoena

Ryan Singel, at Wired's Threat Level Blog, presents a laudatory analysis of Twitter's decision to challenge the DoJ's move, during a secret Grand Jury investigation in Virgina, to subpoena the private details of various accounts related to WikiLeaks. WL Central has covered this issue in detail (listed at the bottom of this post. Singel's article presents Twitter's decision in an industrial context, and plays counterpoint to the idea that "good corporate citizenship" should always mean complying with government wishes whenever that seems expedient.

From:WIRED.COM: Twitter's Response to WikiLeaks Subpoena Should Be the Industry Standard

Of course, it's not the first time tech companies have stood up to requests for user data. Google beat back a government order to turn over search logs in 2006, after AOL and Microsoft quietly acquiesced. We've seen ISPs stand up for their users when movie studios try to force ISPs turn over user information in mass peer-to-peer lawsuits. And just last year, Yahoo successfully resisted the Justice Department's argument that it didn't need a warrant to read a user's e-mails once the user had read them.

But there's not yet a culture of companies standing up for users when governments and companies come knocking with subpoenas looking for user data or to unmask an anonymous commenter who says mean things about a company or the local sheriff.

In the WikiLeaks probe, it's not yet clear whether the feds dropped the same order on other companies.

Regardless, Twitter deserves recognition for its principled upholding of the spirit of the First Amendment. It's a shame that PayPal, Amazon, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and the U.S. government all failed - and continue to to fail - at their own versions of that test.

Other Coverage of the Twitter Subpoena on WL Central

2011-01-08 Twitter on censorship: No censorship on Twitter

It was December 14 when Twitter first received the sealed order to turn over information on several of its users. Twitter could simply have provided the information requested, instead of acting, on January 5, to have the order unsealed. The unsealing of the subpoena allowed the Twitter users in question to become aware of the situation, and it allowed them an opportunity to dispute the order--an opportunity they would not otherwise have had.

The question arises as to why Twitter made this decision and the answer may lie in a recent interview, in which Twitter CEO Dick Costolo expresses his distaste for censorship and rights violations:

In general, he hates government mandates to keep things quiet. And he hates that a woman in China was punished for retweeting something. He reiterates Twitter’s desire to connect people with useful information. “We’re going to lash out at things that prevent us from doing that, as aggressively as we can.” The proof is that we’re banned in China. “We’re not going to sacrifice what we’re trying to do to.”

Mr. Costolo is likely referring to Google's recent decision to reenter the Chinese search market despite China's firm stance on content filtering. As Google CFO Patrick Pichette told The Times:

“China has 1.2 billion people. For Google to say, ‘We’re going to live on our mission but not serve 1.2 billion people’ — it just doesn’t work.” (Source)

Questions of integrity arise, of course, but it is an open question whether Google's presence in China would hinder or improve access to information for its users. "As one example, Pichette cites the fact that [without Google] there wouldn’t be a single result for 'Nobel Peace Prize' anywhere on the current search engines in China." (Source)

The battle against censorship tends to go hand in hand with the constant fight to preserve individual privacy and it is clear that neither can be won without the other. If social networking sites do not take steps to ensure individual privacy, users will not have much incentive to tweet, blog or tag themselves in a public photo. It took some time to acknowledge the repercussions of sharing personal information online, but user awareness is increasing, as is evidenced by a recent poll showing that 60% of Facebook users consider leaving the network over concern for their privacy. So perhaps Twitter's recent gesture in the direction of user privacy serves as a model not only for integrity, but for good business, too.

2010-12: Tweets in Dec 10

Canadian Harper advisor calls for the assassination of Julian Assange

2010-12-30 Selections from Twitter archive concerning Swedish investigation

The following is a compendium of tweets dated up until the end of December, all of which are relevant to the Swedish investigation into Julian Assange. They have been drawn from the WL Central Twitter Archive, which is an archive of the tweets from the official Wikileaks Twitter Account. The full archive is available here.

This selection of tweets was compiled to accompany this article.

2010-10: Tweets in Oct 10

2010-09: Tweets in Sep 10

2010-08: Tweets in Aug 10

2010-07: Tweets in Jul 10

2010-06: Tweets in Jun 10

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