Nearly a week after abruptly denying third-party apps access to its platform with hardly any justification, Twitter amended its developer guidelines to forbid third-party clients.

According to the new guidelines, you are not allowed to “produce or attempt to develop a substitute or equivalent service or product to the Twitter Applications” by using Twitter’s API or content.

This is made clear by the rules, which were updated on Thursday: “Twitter Applications” refers to the business’ “consumer-facing products, services, applications, websites, web pages, platforms, and other offerings, including without limitation, those offered via Twitter’s web and mobile applications.” According to the Wayback Machine, the most recent change to the rules included the provision prohibiting alternative services.

The regulation modification follows Twitter breaking numerous well-known third-party Twitter applications, including Tweetbot and Twitterific, beginning on January 12. The creators of the applications, many of which have historically influenced the overall Twitter user experience, claimed to have had no communication from the business regarding the situation at the time.

The company’s developer account then tweeted on January 17 that it was “enforcing its long-standing API standards,” which “may result in certain apps not working.”

The comment earned little approval. The lack of clarity regarding the laws that were breached was brought up by several critics and developers, as well as the fact that the apps had already been in use for some time before Elon Musk bought Twitter and announced his intentions to transform it into an “everything app.”

Amir Shevat, a former leader of the Twitter developer platform, informed me in 2021 that the firm had just changed the rules to make it simpler for developers to compete with Twitter’s first-party apps.

In response to the app’s unavailability, Ged Maheux, a co-founder of Twitterific creator The Iconfactory, commented on his company’s blog, “We have been respectful of their API standards, as disclosed, for the past 16 years.” We are unaware of any recent changes to these guidelines or what they would entail.

More plainly stated on his blog was Craig Hockenberry, principal of Iconfactory: “There was no advance notice for its creators, customers just got an odd error, and no one is explaining what’s going on. Customers who have been with us for more than ten years were not thanked. It’s only a scene in an ongoing shit show, though.

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The rule modification and third-party client restriction are most likely the results of financial considerations. Since Musk took over, Twitter has been having financial problems, piling up billions of dollars in debt, and it probably makes less money from third-party clients than it does from its first-party ones.

The corporation doesn’t display adverts over the API, which limits its potential to monetize users of alternative apps, even though some developers pay to access it. It doesn’t help that Twitter Blue, a subscription service that mostly adds functionality to the official Twitter app, may not be as appealing to users of third-party clients.

Neither Twitter Dev nor Elon Musk appears to have made an official announcement of the rule change. No communications division at Twitter can be contacted.

Image Credit: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty


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