Twitter On Why It's Breaking Third Party Clients

Twitter On Why It's Breaking Third Party Clients

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Twitter made changes to its API today that break many features used by third party apps.

In an email to employees today, Rob Johnson, senior director of product management, attempted to explain the move.

Hi team,

Today, we’re publishing a blog post about our priorities for where we’re investing today in Twitter client experiences. I wanted to share some more with you about how we reached these decisions, and how we’re thinking about 3rd party clients specifically.

First, some history:

3rd party clients have had a notable impact on the Twitter service and the products we build. Independent developers built the first Twitter client for Mac and the first native app for iPhone. These clients pioneered product features we all know and love about Twitter, like mute, the pull-to-refresh gesture, and more.

We love that developers build experiences on our APIs to push our service, technology, and the public conversation forward. We deeply respect the time, energy, and passion they’ve put into building amazing things using Twitter.

But we haven’t always done a good job of being straightforward with developers about the decisions we make regarding 3rd party clients. In 2011, we told developers (in an email) not to build apps that mimic the core Twitter experience. In 2012, we announced changes to our developer policies intended to make these limitations clearer by capping the number of users allowed for a 3rd party client. And, in the years following those announcements, we’ve told developers repeatedly that our roadmap for our APIs does not prioritize client use cases — even as we’ve continued to maintain a couple specific APIs used heavily by these clients and quietly granted user cap exceptions to the clients that needed them.

It is now time to make the hard decision to end support for these legacy APIs — acknowledging that some aspects of these apps would be degraded as a result. Today, we are facing technical and business constraints we can’t ignore. The User Streams and Site Streams APIs that serve core functions of many of these clients have been in a “beta” state for more than 9 years, and are built on a technology stack we no longer support. We’re not changing our rules, or setting out to “kill” 3rd party clients; but we are killing, out of operational necessity, some of the legacy APIs that power some features of those clients. And it has not been a realistic option for us today to invest in building a totally new service to replace these APIs, which are used by less than 1% of Twitter developers.

We’ve heard the feedback from our customers about the pain this causes. We check out #BreakingMyTwitter quite often and have spoken with many of the developers of major 3rd party clients to understand their needs and concerns. We’re committed to understanding why people hire 3rd party clients over our own apps. And we’re going to try to do better with communicating these changes honestly and clearly to developers. We have a lot of work to do. This change is a hard, but important step, towards doing it. Thank you for working with us to get there.



Twitter On Why It's Breaking Third Party Clients

Twitter's explanation will hardly be comforting to users and developers of third party clients. The company could have affordably shifted developers over to non-legacy APIs on its new technology stack but chose not to.

Tapbot's Paul Haddad says, "The sad thing is they did build a service to replace most of this, they just priced access to it so high that it might as well not exist. For those wondering this is the pricing, each subscription is an account. So a minimum of > $11/account/month."

Iconfactory co-founder Ged Maheux recently addressed the changes saying, "Apps like the Iconfactory’s Twitterrific helped build Twitter’s brand, feature sets and even its terminology into what it is today. Our contributions were small to be sure, but real nonetheless. To be priced out of the future of Twitter after all of our history together is a tough pill to swallow for all of us."

Read More [via TechCrunch]

Twitter On Why It's Breaking Third Party Clients

n0m0n - August 17, 2018 at 2:09pm
Pretty simple... the 3rd party clients / companies should unite, organize and create another Twitter like platform.
nocci - August 17, 2018 at 2:16am
First Zuckerberg exposed for failing to leave profile privacy alone, then this? What's next, snapchat will secretly hook one user with another using the location feature?
stevenlacross - August 16, 2018 at 10:10pm
And this is why I’ve never had and will never get a twitter account