Twitter had previously, and without warning, shut down access to third-party applications citing the enforcement of long-standing rules as the reason. This both angered and confused app developers as there had not been any clear rules set to follow and no response from Twitter on how to remedy the situation. To make matters worse, Twitter has doubled down on what everyone suspected was its plan to completely cut off third-party apps by quietly updating its developer agreement.
This new agreement makes it very clear that app developers are no longer permitted to create their own clients that “use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications,” as the new clause states. The update validates what the developers of a large number of well-known Twitter clients have suspected in recent days, namely that Elon Musk’s leadership of Twitter does not permit the use of third-party Twitter services.
Twitter is enforcing its long-standing API rules. That may result in some apps not working.
— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) January 17, 2023
Twitter citing that it was a longstanding rule for app developers not to replicate its core features fails to make sense when you consider how many third-party Twitter apps are out there and how many have been long-time favorites for Twitter users. As noted by Engadget, apps such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific have been around for years, and although somewhat limited by the API, they still managed to provide an experience that many preferred over the official Twitter app.
However, it seems that the friendly relationship Twitter had with its third-party app developers is over and it’s now all about securing its app domination. This shift has understandably offended and angered the app developers that have spent years perfecting their apps and forming a livelihood around this business model.
To add insult to injury, these developers have yet to officially hear back from Twitter regarding their previous requests for clarification on how to get their apps out of their suspended status. Some have already taken the step of removing the app from the Google Play Store and wondering if the same should be done for the iOS App Store, as is the case with Matteo Villa, the developer of Fenix.
Meanwhile, Twitterrific has already made an official announcement that its 16-year-old app has been discontinued and is urging its users not request a refund for the app, as this would have to come out of that small company’s pockets. This whole situation is very sad and unfortunate. There shouldn’t be any reason why Twitter could not give these developers ample notice about their plans to discontinue their API access and there is definitely no excuse to just pull the plug and make up the rules later. Twitter: this is not a good look. Do better.