Twitter strangles third-party apps with new API limitations
Twitter today announced details of an update to its API policy that could affect popular third-party apps for the microblogging service. The new rules aim to “deliver a consistent Twitter experience” and will ensure developers adhere to the look and feel that users experience across Twitter clients. Some of the rules ensure all apps use authentication measures so Twitter can monitor while others restrict the frequency of access to Twitter’s services. However, what Twitter is really gunning for are third-party Twitter apps that mimic Twitter’s functionality.
One of the core clauses of Twitter API version 1.1 will be limiting the number of users to 100,000 for typical Twitter clients. For those clients that have already crossed the user base, Twitter will allow them to reach 200 percent of their current user base, beyond which they won’t be able to add new users.
We will not be shutting down client applications that use those endpoints and are currently over those token limits. If your application already has more than 100,000 individual user tokens, you’ll be able to maintain and add new users to your application until you reach 200% of your current user token count (as of today) — as long as you comply with our Rules of the Road. Once you reach 200% of your current user token count, you’ll be able to maintain your application to serve your users, but you will not be able to add additional users without our permission.
Twitter wants third-party app developers to focus more on providing additional value to users than just another Twitter client. In a blog post mentioning the changes in Twitter API, Michael Sippey, Director of consumer product at Twitter, mentioned that the company is “trying to encourage activity in the upper-left, lower-left and lower right quadrants, and limit certain use cases that occupy the upper-right quadrant.”
Today’s announcement is a reiteration of Twitter’s announcement last year where it had warned third-party developers from creating “traditional” Twitter apps that mimic Titter’s functionality. Having said that, Twitter should improve its own apps before shutting down third-party clients that are popular among power users as they provide more features than the default Twitter apps.