Twitter has announced that it will no longer allow third parties to use an API interface to run external Twitter apps. This decision marks a turning point in the history of the short messaging service: historically, its popularity is also and primarily due to apps from third parties. Popular applications such as Twitterific or Tweetbot will thus no longer exist.
Change in developer agreement
The ban on external apps that add features and platforms to Twitter had been feared. Twitter had surprisingly blocked API access for all external companies last Thursday. All applications around Twitter, which do not originate from Twitter itself, do not work since then. However, a clear statement was not made so far despite great media interest. That has now changed.
After Endgadget discovered an updated version of the company’s developer agreement, Twitter officially announced that henceforth no third-party apps will be tolerated. According to the agreement, they will no longer be allowed to “create a replacement service or similar product to Twitter’s applications.” This basically includes all extensions for the platform.
Major adjustment needed
This, in turn, is likely to cause displeasure among users. Numerous people have so far not used the official Twitter apps, but alternative applications. These primarily scored points with a clearer interface and additional functions. These included extended statistics or the option of automated tweets.
But the companies that have specialized in such extensions for Twitter are also facing an upheaval. They will have to discontinue their services, on which numerous jobs sometimes depend, and look for alternatives.
Break with Twitter’s previous direction
Twitter itself is thus also facing a significant upheaval. The external services that have now been banned have had a decisive impact on the short message service. Twitter’s iOS app, for example, is based on an application that was initially developed by another company as an external service. Twitter bought the company Tweetie, which was behind the app – and thus came up with the now very popular iOS application. Tweetbot, in turn, is considered one of the most popular clients for Twitter – due to its clarity and enormous feature set. And the term Tweet, which is now widely and uniquely associated with Twitter, comes from Twitterific.
The move away from third-party companies, which previously had an indirect say in Twitter’s direction, shows once again that the company’s policy has changed significantly under Elon Musk. Other indications of this include the fact that Donald Trump’s account has been unblocked, critical media professionals have been blocked and employees involved in reviewing illegal content have been fired en masse.
Twitter bans external apps: Mastodon as alternative?
Both Tweetbot and Twitterific have further complained that there was no open communication on Twitter’s part. Tweetbot, for example, reported no longer having access to the critical interfaces without notice or comment.
Twitter’s decision now could significantly accelerate the switch to Mastodon as an alternative. After Musk’s takeover, several prominent people had already migrated to Mastodon. Tweetbot now also pointed in this direction: “Oh well, on to smaller but greener pastures,” reads a post shared by founder Paul Haddad on the occasion of the lockout from the API on Mastodon. It is also known that he has been developing a Tweetbot equivalent for Mastodon for some time.