Twitter says it will kill off free API access for developers

Say goodbye to some of your favorite Twitter apps, automated accounts, tools, and services. Twitter is now forcing anyone who does the creative things that make the platform fun and enjoyable to pay up or leave.

In the early hours of Wednesday, Twitter’s official developer account, @TwitterDev, announced that the company will no longer offer a free tier of access to its API. Instead, there will soon be a paid subscription to Twitter’s basic API layer. And how soon will this happen? Next week. February 9th.


Elon Musk suspended his Twitter account and went private. Here’s why.

An API is a software interface that allows two applications to talk to each other, and this particular one allows developers to access Twitter’s data and services through official channels. In return, many developers have been able to create a range of free and paid products that enhance the Twitter experience. The demand for payment will surely destroy many of the free services and accounts.

The reaction has already been heavily criticized by users across the board. Some developers already have announced(Opens in a new window) their intention to end their Twitter projects.

For example, the creator of the Possum Every Hour Twitter account, which automatically tweets a photo of a possum every hour, Posted(Opens in a new window) that the account will stop tweeting next week when the free API tier ends. The account has more than half a million Twitter followers.

The decision to remove all free access to its API shows how much Twitter is struggling to make money. The company has lost about 50 percent of its advertisers, which are its primary source of revenue, after Musk took over and began executing on his vision of the Twitter platform. To offset lost sales, Musk introduced new paid products like the $8 premium Twitter Blue plan. The ability to purchase a verified badge with Twitter Blue has put even more brands off the platform. And so far, Twitter hasn’t even been able to do that Convert a miserable 0.1 percent of its monthly active users into paying subscribers.

Removing the free API tier is a questionable path to more revenue as it could stifle the creativity of developers who don’t want to monetize their projects. These creators often create services that promote and encourage greater use of Twitter. Small indie developers just starting out can implement their ideas on platforms that still offer free API access, like Facebook or YouTube.

It’s important to note that Twitter already has a paid service tier for its API. This existing premium tier, which removes the access restrictions of the basic tier, serves the social media companies that generate revenue from offering Twitter data.

And what about the scammers and spam bots? Won’t that decision kill her? Unlikely.

Access to Twitter’s API required a user to apply for and be approved for an official developer account. Thus, Twitter was able to monitor its usage and spot bad actors. Because of this, many scammers and spammers who use automation have avoided using the API in the first place, instead employing workarounds such as web scrapers.

Elon Musk does killed from third-party Twitter clients like Twitterific and Tweetbot earlier this month. Just this week, users were complaining about Musk’s recent algorithm changes, which are rendering their feeds unusable. Now he comes for everything else. He has not given the developers any details on the cost of maintaining their projects and services. And, oh yeah, remember, these developers only have a week to figure it all out. Twitter says it will kill off free API access for developers

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