Twitter will start to charge for access to their free API, the company’s Developer account announced this week, which means third-party software developers who access Twitter’s API data to promote their own projects, like bots on the app, will only have access through a “paid basic tier,” beginning February 9.
Twitter’s API, or Application Programming Interface, allows software developers to directly engage with and use Twitter’s data for ad campaigns, creating targeting criteria and pulling trend analytics, according to Twitter’s developer platform.
With the new policy, developers who use Twitter’s API will either have to pay to access the information or stop their projects altogether, which will impact hundreds of thousands of users who use the tools to build engagement on their own platforms.
The announcement received backlash from software developers that create bots on the app, and Twitter followers of their pages.
Elon Musk tweeted in response to the announcement, saying the free API system is being “abused” by bots and scammers on the platform, and a $100 per month payment for access would “clean things up greatly.”
App developers, like Anil Dash, the CEO of Glitch, and Twitter users alike say that this is a “bad move,” claiming that the API fee will remove smaller bots off the platform, but will allow spam bots to continue posting on the app. Additionally, several bot accounts, like @folklorebot, a Taylor Swift bot account with more than 340,000 followers, has already sworn off the app’s API paywall, because it would be too expensive to maintain. The change could impact hundreds of thousands of bot accounts from those used for journalism tools to flag stories like @Dataminr, to those used to monitor and flag hate speech – which has spiked since Musk’s acquisition according to academic studies and the Network Contagion Research institute.
We estimate Tesla and Twitter CEO Musk to be worth $183.5 billion.
This is the latest policy change from Twitter since Elon Musk’s takeover last fall. In November, Twitter launched an $8 per month account verification subscription, which led to fraudulent copy-cat accounts, a loss of over 50% of their highest paying advertisers and rampant spread of misinformation. This also comes during a tense relationship with Twitter’s developers, after the company abruptly cut ties with prominent third-party app makers like Twitterific and Tweetbot while making changes to their development agreement policies.
The company did not disclose how much the paid tier will cost, but noted more details were to be announced next week when it is expected to launch. The costs, however, are expected to hit harder for smaller developers, who may have less money to pay for data access, while bigger ones will have to decide whether it’s worth the expense.
Twitter Makes It Harder To Build Third Party Apps And Fun Bots In Latest Cash Grab (forbes.com)
Verification To View Counts: Here’s Every Twitter Change Under Elon Musk (forbes.com)
Twitter API Is Going Behind the Paywall – CNET
Twitter replaces its free API with a paid tier in quest to make more money- The Verge
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