from the driving-away-all-the-power-users department
Last week, Twitter (with no notice or explanation) seemed to cut off API access to the most popular 3rd party Twitter customers. It was unclear if this was done on purpose or not. Earlier this week, it became pretty damn clear that it was done on purposeafter one of those providers, Tweetbot, dug up an old unused API key and tried to switch it in… only to have it cut off soon after.
Then, on Tuesday, Twitter put out this oddly worded statement about the API.
Developers of popular apps insisted that this was bullshit. They’ve been abiding by the API’s rules from day one. They could find no “long-standing” rule that they violated.
On Thursday, two days after this statement, and six days after the API was cut off… Twitter quietly amended its “long-standing” Developer Agreement to effectively ban third party apps. Specifically, in the “restrictions” list, a new clause was added saying that you can’t use an API to “create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications,” meaning no more third party apps.
Again, as we’ve said before, this is a similar, but dumber, echo of what happened at Twitter a decade ago, when it feared competition from some 3rd party app developers and cut them off — a move that the company long regretted as it stunted the company’s growth and innovation (which frequently was driven by those third party developers — even including the word “tweet” and the idea of a blue bird as Twitter’s mascot). At least when it happened last time, Twitter explained what it was doing to those apps, and let them know what was going on.
This time, as with so much of Musk’s nonsense, there’s been no transparency, no clarity, nothing at all. Just fuck over tons of Twitter’s most loyal userbase.
And, it doesn’t seem like users who loved those apps as a way to use Twitter are taking it well:
Even if you could argue that there was a good business reason for doing this (and I could easily argue the many terrible business reasons for doing it), the fashion in which it was done is pathetic, cowardly, and obnoxious. Elon could have explained the reasoning, and even given a period of time to wind down things. Instead, these long-standing services, that many power users relied on to use Twitter simply got cut off with zero notice for days. And then, days later, were told they were breaking rules (that they weren’t breaking). Finally, days after that, the “rules” were quietly changed to ban them. Again, without any communication.
Considering that the new owner keeps talking about how he’s working to bring back “trust” on the platform, this seems like a pretty good way to torpedo trust among the most important partners and users of your increasingly collapsing site. Especially laughable is that all of this comes just as Musk claimed that “transparency builds trust.”
You should maybe try it, then, dude.