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Twitter makes a U-turn: officially bans third-party clients
Changes to Twitter's developer agreement all but blocks Twitter clients
Twitter has updated its developer agreement to block third-party app developers from creating Twitter-based clients after suspicions arose earlier in the week.
A new clause has been quietly added to the developer agreement stating developers cannot “interfere with, modify, disrupt or disable features or functionality of the Twitter API” or “use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications”.
The end result is that many of the most popular and long-standing third-party Twitter clients, such as Twitterific and Tweetbot, are no longer functional. Earlier this week, Twitter blocked the apps’ access to the Twitter platform without explanation – this updated agreement would seem to explain it was a deliberate attempt to ban alternative computer and mobile apps that compile Twitter feeds.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Twitter clients
🛑 Twitter has all but blocked third-party Twitter clients
📜 Changes to the Twitter developer agreement prevent developers using the Twitter API
😔 Clients like Tweetbot, Twitterific and Fenix won’t be able to function
😲 Twitter gave no warning of the change in terms
Among those affected are the likes of Tweetbot, Twitterific and Fenix – clients that, while not hugely popular among most Twitter users, have had a not insignificant part in crafting the Twitter experience for years. In fact, the creators of Twitterific claim to have not only provided the first Twitter client for iPhone but were the first to use the word “Tweet” in its current usage.
Twitter said that by updating the developer agreement it was merely “enforcing its long-standing API rules”, but the clients have been happily running alongside Twitter for years. As The Verge noted last year, Twitter made big changes to its API that appeared to promote the work of third-party developers.
“What bothers me about Twitterrific’s final day is that it was not dignified,” the client’s creator said. “There was no advance notice for its creators, customers just got a weird error, and no one is explaining what’s going on. We had no chance to thank customers who have been with us for over a decade. Instead, it’s just another scene in [Twitter’s] ongoing shit show.”
It’s been a wild time for Twitter since Elon Musk bought the platform last year. The billionaire has reinstated Donald Trump, asked Twitter users to pay $8 for verification, and tweaked how companies are shown on the platform by rolling out new checkmarks and square profile pictures.
His most recent changes have been to add a view counter to each Tweet, in an attempt to show how active the platform is even around the smallest accounts, and ape TikTok by pushing algorithmically determined content ahead of user-curated posts.
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