Twitter has intentionally blocked its third-party clients on the platform, according to internal Slack messages viewed by The Information. Elon Musk has blocked their access to Twitter’s API for unknown reasons.
- Third-party Twitter apps have been out of service since Thursday evening
- Developers are clueless about the matter as Twitter refused to comment
- Users have dropped complaints about the inaccessibility of the platform through Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Birdie, Echofon, and other apps that were previously used to scroll through Twitter
These popular apps cannot be used without access to the underlying code for the platform. The decision has led to outrage among developers running these apps and many of them expressed their distress publicly.
Tweetbot co-creator Paul Haddad took to a Mastodon post to air his grievances. “And I really want an official public statement,” he said. “We have a large number of sub renewals for year 3 of Tweetbot coming up in a couple of weeks.”
“If we’re permanently cut off I need to know so we can remove the app from sale and prevent those. Which obviously I’d rather not do,” he added. Twitterrific also dropped a tweet notifying users about the situation.
“There’s still no official word about what’s going on. We apologize for the ongoing interruption,” it said. Like the rest of Musk’s releases and upgrades, this one too is not reliable. Some apps including Albatross and Fenix are working smoothly for some users depending upon the operating system of the device.
How did Twitter ban its third-party clients?
Twitter’s Dev account tweeted that the platform is “enforcing its long-standing API rules,” which means some apps will not work. Twitter has not spoken about the exact changes implemented on the API.
Moreover, it didn’t mention the API rules seemingly violated by these blocked clients. When popular third-party apps for Twitter were not working last week, the outage was speculated to be caused by a bug.
Only Twitter’s top clients were afflicted by the outage and blocked from Twitter’s API which hinted at the possibility of an internal error. As Twitter stayed away from public appearances or statements, it was understood that the platform intentionally wanted to block third-party apps.
The Information revealed that a senior software engineer at Twitter confirmed that the suspensions were intended to happen on purpose. The clarification was made on an internal Slack channel implying that a good portion of Twitter employees was kept in the dark.
Why did Twitter ban its third-party clients?
Twitter has been incredibly secretive about its operations lately. It has not provided any information about the whys and hows of the recent tragedy bestowed upon its third-party apps. These apps have been functional for years and now, their future as a part of Twitter looks bleak.
It is uncertain whether they would gain access to the API again. Developers like Iconfactory and Tapbots, who run apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot, respectively were not informed about the outage.
Tweetbot has been serving users for more than a decade. The app assembled a full team of developers and invested majorly in the social platform. Twitter received backlash again because of its poorly made decision and lack of communication, from developers and users alike.
Twitter named “clueless, classless, and cowardly”
MacStories has described Twitter’s actions as “disgraceful” and “unprofessional,” as Twitter has shown a “total lack of respect” for the support extended by third-party apps that ultimately led to the platform’s success.
Jason Snell accused Twitter of being “clueless, classless, and cowardly.” Meanwhile, John Gruber said he might quit using the platform as Twitter’s own client is “terrible.”
As developers wait for a verdict in confusion and utter turmoil, Tapbots is keen on finishing development on Ivory, its app for Twitter’s replacement Mastodon social network.
Twitterrific’s Craig Hockenberry revealed that he wants to dive into the prospect of a truly universal timeline that capitalizes on different ways open standards can be used.