Tweetbot, Twiterrific, Echofon and other popular third-party apps for Twitter have been down since Thursday night, and so far the social network doesn’t seem to have told the developers of these apps why. Developers reported that their apps failed to query Twitter’s API, suggesting that the social network may be making changes to its API for third-party customers. Also, given Twitter’s complete silence on the issue, some say it’s entirely possible that the company simply cut off third-party apps from accessing its API.
It’s been a few days since almost all of Twitter’s major third-party clients suddenly stopped working. The problems appear to have started on Thursday night, with some users reporting that they were unable to log in and access Twitter feeds. The creators of these applications also complained about these problems with Mastodon. Twitterrific developer Sean Heber says: Has Twitter killed third-party clients? , while Tweetbot’s Paul Haddad said, “Hopefully what’s going on with Twitter is just a spam crawler wrongly suspending the appropriate apps.”
Haddad said the connection issues started Thursday evening and noted that all API requests from his app were failing. A post on the Twitter Developer Forum reveals that some Twitter-based app developers have noticed that their apps are listed as “suspended”. Some are classified as having invalid authentication information. Third-party apps like Twitterrific have started showing users a notification to resolve the outage. Twitterrific users are currently unable to access the service, the notice read.
This may just be a temporary bug; in which case it could be a more serious issue,” added Twitterrific. Tweetbot shows a similar message. Also, the developers seem to be upset by Twitter’s complete silence on the issue. Still no official/unofficial information from inside Twitter,” Tweetbot’s Haddad said in a post on Mastodon. We’re in the dark just as much as you are,” read a blog post published Friday by Iconfactory, the company behind Twitterrific .So far, there has been no official communication from Twitter or CEO Elon Musk on this matter.
In addition, the company does not have a communication service through which the media can directly inquire. Twitter likely made changes to its API for third-party clients, which caused these apps to fail. It is not certain that this is a measure aimed at preventing access to the platform. Apart from the aforementioned apps, users have complained that they cannot access Twitter from clients like Fenix, Twitpane, Feather, and Talon. Therefore, the only way to access Twitter currently is through the official client or the website.
Note that Twitter has a complex relationship with third-party clients. The company directly told developers to stop building client apps in early 2011, changed its API to severely restrict them in mid-2012, and then removed auto-refresh and push notifications in 2018. The story of Twitter’s recent history with third-party customers and the company’s recent trend of making unannounced changes with seemingly unintended consequences has sparked discussions that this may be a sudden change. in policy rather than an API problem.
We are aware that Twitterrific is having problems interacting with Twitter. We don’t know what the root is yet, but we’re trying to find out. Please stay tuned and apologize.
— Twitterrific (@Twitterrific) January 13, 2023
A report published Saturday by The Information appears to confirm that the outage was intentional. In internal posts seen by Media, a senior software engineer said “third-party app suspensions were intentional” in a Slack channel dedicated to Twitter outages and other disruptions. According to the outlet, another employee asked when he would get a list of “approved discussion topics” in response to complaints about third-party apps not working on Friday. A product marketing manager reportedly replied that Twitter had “started working on communications”.
But the official reportedly added that they don’t know when this information will be ready to be shared with developers. Haddad said his company operates under the assumption that the loss was intentional; and Iconfactory’s post mentions a “new (apparently unstated and undeclared) policy that only applies to applications with a large number of users.” Tweetbot came back online on Sunday, but still stopped working. And now it’s dead again, with old unused API keys, proving that it was intentional and that we were specifically targeted,” Haddad said.
“I wouldn’t have changed the keys in the first place if there was even an ounce of communication,” he added. The client never came back online because of what Twitter did. Haddad explained to The Verge that they hadn’t heard from Twitter, so they “decided to start using new API keys and see if that fixes the problem.” This allowed Tweetbot to temporarily avoid any service interruption, even putting it in a semi-working state. Some have explained that this state of operation may be due to limitations that Twitter imposes on third-party clients using its API.
According to sources, the contentious situation between Twitter and third-party apps that use its API appeared to be improving before Musk bought the company. But Musk’s position on alternative Twitter apps is unclear; he didn’t seem to say much positive or negative about them. However, its Twitter 2.0 has incentives to make its proprietary app the only game in town. The company is desperately trying to make money, focusing on its Twitter Blue subscription service that offers its own client functionality.
Also, third-party apps often don’t show ads, which means some users don’t have them installed. That could anger Musk, who is working to make the platform the No. 1 choice for advertisers. Finally, recall that massive layoffs within the social media network have led many tech industry observers to anticipate operational failures within the company, as workers with knowledge of existing systems leave without being replaced. .
What is your opinion on the subject?
What do you think of Twitter’s third-party client loss?
Do you think Twitter intentionally blocks third-party apps?
What do you think could cause Musk to block third-party apps for Twitter?
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