Elon Musk has destroyed the entire environment on Twitter

The failure of some Twitter clients, such as Tweetbot, Twitterific, and Fenix, does not appear to be accidental. 3 days after the appearance of the “bug”, everything is in line with Elon Musk’s decision to increase Twitter’s advertising revenue, even if it means abandoning those who have been successful in the social network.

Is it really a failure of applications that use the Twitter API? Since December 13, the tool that allows developers to access the social network and offer alternative functions, such as the synchronization of reading between different devices or the automatic creation of discussions , is no longer working. However, when Elon Musk took over as the head of Twitter in October 2022, the social network promised that it would not touch the API and that its partners could trust its new owner.

Two months later, everyone suggests that Elon Musk ordered his teams to kill the applications that use Twitter, leaving to cause the collapse of the ecosystem that greatly contributed to the success of the social network, without informing anyone upstream. In fact, for a long time, third-party applications were the only way to access Twitter other than your computer (before Twitter bought Tweetie in 2010 to make it its official mobile application, then Tweetdeck in 2011).

Tweetbot, Twitterific, Fenix: the bug is not one

Since his arrival on Twitter, Elon Musk has become a regular at broken promises. The deletion of the ElonJet account caused a lot of talk when the billionaire promised that he would not track you on the account that tracks the movements of his jet. So it’s no surprise to see him kill the API after saying he wouldn’t. Same thing about his lack of transparency, Elon Musk only speaks publicly on topics that suit him.

When trying to open Tweetbot, an error message says it’s impossible to access your account. Logging in is unchanged. // Source: Capture Numerama

The death of the API can be added to the long list of broken promises:

  • A 3-day absence, without any communication, is unprecedented. Twitter hasn’t said anything about the situation, which isn’t a good sign for developers.
  • Tweetdeck, the software acquired by Twitter in 2011, is still working. If the API is completely down, it shouldn’t be able to access tweets.
  • One of the Tweetbot developers, Paul Haddad, tried to replace his access to the Twitter API with an old key (with fewer functions). This manipulation allowed him to reactivate his application… until Twitter deactivated it again. He concluded that someone was deliberately attacking Tweetbot and that the API wasn’t actually down.
  • In some cases, the Twitter API continues to work (Twitter still works on Mac, but not on iOS). Deactivations seem to be manual and targeted.
  • The page to access the API when you are a developer there is no more.
  • The Information says it was able to consult internal discussions on Twitter, Slack. It says that disabling apps to access Twitter is intentional.

Elon Musk is wrong

Elon Musk, who spent $44 billion to acquire the social network, seems to have only one word in mind: profitability. Launching Twitter Blue with a paid membership to get certified and add a view counter is part of his plan to increase revenue from Twitter, which he wants to make the most vibrant place on the web. The existence of alternative solutions to access Twitter necessarily causes a problem for him, especially when we know that they use Twitter as they want, without advertising and without the obligation to implement the changes that Elon wants Musk.

Since the arrival of Elon Musk, Twitter no longer says which application wrote the tweet.  A view counter also appeared.  // Source: Capture Numerama
Since the arrival of Elon Musk, Twitter no longer says which application wrote the tweet. A view counter also appeared. // Source: Capture Numerama

However, one cannot help but question the method. Instead of cutting everything overnight, even if that means hating the creators of these applications (Tweetbots and Tweetdeck have announced they’re leaving Mastodon) and leaving no transition time for historical users of these applications, Elon Musk would not have been without him. in dialogue?

Forcing API users to implement ads and communicate views is a possibility, especially since third-party developers have always made many concessions to accommodate Twitter’s mood swings (the API has had very few updates, limiting their functions to the essentials for a long time. This radical decision is drastic and deals a new blow to the image of Twitter, which is a social network still based on the community aspect.

One of the Tweetbot developers seems to be letting Twitter know.

What about the professionals, to whom Elon Musk promises mountains and wonders in a few months? If there are still official solutions for tweeting (such as Tweetdeck), those who have developed in-house solutions using the API, especially to manage after-sales services, risk being overwhelmed by the idea that everyone can stop every day. Even if Elon Musk’s decision is irreversible, explanations seem more than necessary for the billionaire’s lack of recognition for those who have been successful on Twitter.

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