After Twitter cut off access to its Application Programming Interface (API), the company finally acknowledged it in a tweet.
“Twitter is enforcing its long-standing API rules,” the company tweeted from its developer account. “That may result in some apps not working.”
However, the company offered no explanation of which “long-standing API rules” developers of apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot were violating.
Twitter is enforcing its long-standing API rules. That may result in some apps not working.— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) January 17, 2023
There’s no official explanation from Twitter about why some third-party apps are still running – and others have been shut down.
Speculation circulating on the internet suggests that the company is trying to shut down any features or functionality offered by third-party apps and could be considered competition for its product or even something that could harm it in any way.
What losing API access means for third-party app users
The most obvious change will be the inability to post tweets from third-party apps, which is one of the most common uses for these apps.
However, losing access to the Twitter API means that third-party apps may never be able to function as they have in the past.
Many of these apps rely on the API to fetch tweets from users, allowing them to display content from those users meaningfully.
With this functionality, it’s clear how many of these third-party apps will be able to survive.
However, some may be able to continue operating if they find alternative methods for accessing user data and displaying it in useful ways.
Other ways in which third-party app users could be affected more directly include the following:
– Retweeting and liking tweets;
– Posting content on users’ timelines;
– Writing tweets directly from your app instead of having to enter the text manually;
– Using the same functionality as Twitter’s website (i.e., being able to see who follows you and who you follow).
Losing access to Twitter’s API will pose an inconvenience to those who rely on these applications such as journalists, who use them to post stories and send alerts, and companies, which use them to manage social media marketing.
It’s also important to note that this change will affect the ability of developers to gather data on users’ activity—something Twitter has touted as a key benefit of their API.
Developers will no longer have access to this information, which could be harmful in cases where developers need this data to provide relevant content or services.
The company's two-sentence acknowledgement that it had cut off access to several long-time developers follows a report in “The Information” that the moves were an “intentional” one.
Some have speculated that Twitter decided because third-party clients don’t show ads and may be perceived as siphoning off already declining ad revenue from the company.