[Update: Live] Twitter reveals new API that removes key features from 3rd-party apps
When Twitter was growing its user base, third-party clients like Flamingo, Falcon, and Talon were flourishing on Android. Then, the company implemented restrictions on its APIs; in particular, a developer could only request 100,000 login tokens for their users. For example, the popular Flamingo client was pulled from the Google Play Store after the developer reached the token limit. Since then, the API restrictions have only grown more strict: A recent announcement included restrictions such as the shutting down of push notifications and automatically updating timelines for third-party applications. These changes were postponed for an unspecified later date, but now Twitter has announced that they’ll go into effect on August 16th, 2018.
Today we’re excited to announce the general availability of Account Activity API. Now developers can get started for free, upgrade to premium as they scale, and move to enterprise when they need even more subscriptions or enterprise functionality. https://t.co/AkMCDNOxbs
— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) May 16, 2018
Twitter also announced that they would be releasing a new API for developers to make use of in their applications. That sounds like a good thing, but there’s a catch – developers are expected to pay for this service. Publicly available pricing information puts the costs at around $2,899 per month for 250 users, a staggeringly high $11.60 per user per month. Most third-party clients will have a lot more than 250 active users, so this is effectively the death knell for any independent app developer or small company looking to make a beautiful new Twitter client.
Twitter is guarding the usage of its API to make sure that their official application is the best way to use its service. When the company controls access to its API there’s little that users or developers can do about it, save for abandoning the service altogether. We don’t expect to see Twitter abandon this controversial change, so if you’re upset with the decision maybe it’s time to move on to the official client. Or just stop using Twitter altogether, that’s up to you.
Twitter announced the official changes in a blog post today. As mentioned in the original article, the changes remove access to APIs for power push notifications and auto-refreshing timeline. Third-party apps will be forced to find new ways to deliver Twitter’s features.
Article was updated with a link to Twitter’s pricing page for the new Account Activity API.
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