Twitter is cutting off free access to its API, which could lead to the shutdown of hundreds of apps, Elon Musk’s search for revenue could destroy the ecosystem surrounding the platform.
Twitter announced today that the social network will no longer provide free access to its API as of February 9. The company will stop supporting free access to the Twitter API and instead offer a “paid basic tier.” This means that many tools for Twitter, including applications for analyzing Twitter data and tools for management and automated updates, may stop working after February 9. Twitter’s decision drew criticism from the community because it affects many of the tools, applications, and features that contribute to the real-time ecosystem that Twitter has become.
Twitter’s API allows third parties to retrieve and analyze public data from Twitter, which can then be used to create programmable bots and standalone apps that connect to the platform, such as Picasso, Thread Reader, and RemindMe_OfThis. Twitter currently provides limited free access to the API, as well as premium and scalable tiers for developers who need to lift endpoint access restrictions and unlock additional enterprise features. However, Twitter announced today that this free tier will no longer be available starting February 9.
In a series of tweets, the official Twitter Dev account announced that the company will end support for the old v1.1 and new v2 versions of its Twitter APIs. The company did not immediately say how much it plans to charge for using the APIs. The move comes after the social media company abruptly changed its terms of service for its API, which is used by many popular third-party clients such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific. Twitter just banned third-party clients, and now an array of tools that enrich people’s experience may be out of order.
As of February 9th, we will no longer support free access to the Twitter API, both v2 and v1.1. Instead, a paid basic tier will be available ?
— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) February 2, 2023
Twitter data is one of the most powerful databases in the world. We’re committed to providing fast and comprehensive access so you can continue building with us. Hundreds of millions of people have sent more than a trillion Tweets over the years, and send billions of Tweets every week,” the Twitter Dev account says. The goal is to generate as much revenue as possible by any means possible. The most popular business apps on the platform, including Hootsuite and Sprout Social, already pay for full API access and are unlikely to be affected.
But this could prevent them from offering free plans, which would have a huge impact on their business model. Twitter does not disclose pricing for its API professionals, although it said in February of last year that fees start at $99 per month and increase depending on the level of access required. In addition, thousands of developers use Twitter’s API to create fun tools and useful bots that aren’t designed to generate revenue or profit—for example, tools to track the weather or colorize black-and-white photos.
They’re really fun side projects for people who don’t want to pay for something they didn’t build themselves. As a result, it is likely that many bots and tools that use Twitter’s free API access will be paid or forced to shut down. Finally, the Twitter API has another specific user base: students and academics (researchers). Twitter’s new announcement could have major implications for investigations into a number of areas, including hate speech and the promotion of terrorism online.
Wow….a whole week of warning. For many people who use your service, developers who build products that support your service, you gave them a week’s notice. This is simply terrible leadership.
— Doug Black Jr ☘️?? (@dougblackjr) February 2, 2023
Universities often use Twitter to study human behavior in different regions. Limiting free use of the API can also prevent companies from spreading false information on Twitter. Their disappearance from these various mediums, if anything, would have a major impact on Twitter’s overall business. On the other hand, some will see this as another element of Twitter’s fight against bots. After Elon Musk bought the platform for $44 billion at the end of October 2022, he made it his mission to destroy bots on Twitter.
Since then, Musk has taken drastic measures to eliminate bots, some of which are having an impact, but Musk himself has admitted that these efforts are reducing the platform’s overall engagement. It could also open the door for competitors, as many Automated Update applications may migrate to other platforms. This includes video game break updates, weather programs, and more. refers to things like There are other tools, such as GIF generators and autoresponders. A few tools may be looking for a new home on Mastodon or another competitor.
In that regard, analysts say it’s a flawed move and ignores how the developer community has facilitated Twitter’s growth. But whether outside commentators agree or not, Elon and his men will have it their way. This can be a way to gain new customers for Twitter data and increase business revenue. It’s hard to say how many apps, tools, and services Twitter will ditch with this latest monetization move, since the price of entry-level access hasn’t been announced yet.
But what is clear is that since Musk’s arrival, the company has managed to anger, frustrate and lose a lot of users and partners. Since the takeover, Musk has been working to increase revenue and monetize Twitter, pay off loans and wipe out a mountain of debt. He laid off nearly two-thirds of his staff, shut down user verification behind the $8-a-month Twitter Blue subscription, and even allegedly sold off company assets after Twitter closed its offices.
Since its inception, Twitter has had a strange relationship with developers. Although this relationship was awkward, it was good for both parties. Third-party companies were often the ones who provided new Twitter products and features, and the social network did their part by not charging them to use the API. In recent years, Twitter has even attempted to restore ties with developers by launching new programs such as the Twitter App Discovery Toolbar. Many of these initiatives have been abandoned by the new leadership that Musk has put in place.
Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter is expanding its efforts to monetize the service while also working to control how users around the world access the platform. Indeed, Musk must pay an additional $1.5 billion a year in interest alone to keep Twitter alive, an unprofitable service, which explains these changes. To make the platform more attractive and profitable for its shrinking ad base, Twitter updated and made Twitter Blue even more expensive, and changed the way tweets appear in a user’s News Feed.
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