Most third-party Twitter clients, like Tweetbot or Fenix, mysteriously stopped working last Thursday. The reason was an obvious error in the API, a set of functions designed to create applications that access the service. Communication was not offered, but it all seemed like a temporary glitch.

Hours and days passed, however, and this weekend one could conclude that the maneuver was not only deliberate. It was clearly aimed at preventing third-party clients from accessing Twitter.

Why? Because they do not bring income to the company, because. API does not include timeline ads. And for Elon Musk, this is the main goal if he wants to continue to keep Twitter afloat. He is heavily indebted on loans requested to purchase him. And, above all, because the company has always had difficulty monetizing its influence on public debate.

“The suspension of Twitter clients was intentional”

According to reports, on one of the Slack channels that Twitter employees use for internal communication, a senior software engineer wrote late Thursday night that “the suspension of third-party apps is intentional” in response to questions asked. Information.

Posts discussing When will this decision be officially announced?which directly affects its users. Also to programmers who have built their business on the platform. And overnight they had no alternatives, no warnings, no alternatives, not even an apology.

A product employee asked on Friday morning when employees can expect a list of “approved topics for discussion.” To answer questions that partners and consumers have asked about “revocation of access to third-party customers”. Answer? The marketing manager noted that “the company began to work on communications.”

“It was intentional and they specifically targeted us”

Paul Haddad, developer of Tweetbot, the most popular third-party Twitter client for iPhone, concluded that this was not a bug, but a deliberate and purposeful limitation. His first indication was that other clients that used the API functions were still working, but none of the more popular ones like Tweetbot, Fenix, or Twitterrific. The second was when changing the access key inside his application, since he had others. When changes were made, the functionality was partially restored. Until Twitter revokes access to this key again, it is still valid.

Haddad admits on his Mastodon account that he has a few more API access keys to keep the service running for a few hours, but he “doesn’t want to play.” little games or risk suing someone with an endless budget to get into lawsuits. He just wants an explanation your application requires payment of a monthly or annual subscriptionsomething that your customers can no longer get.

not surprising

However, the sudden decision and the peculiar way of implementing it are not so surprising. Musk needs more advertisers to invest and get the most out of each one. As, you maximize the number of ads each user sees per session. It’s getting more common to find one or two ads on the screen every time you open an app or swipe to see more tweets.

Also, Musk did the exact opposite of what he promised, and now the default timeline is based on algorithms they call “For You.” This timeline selects the tweets you might like the most based on the people you follow and current topics. That is, the user loses control over what he reads, and Twitter reveals what its algorithms think will make you spend more time on the service. That is: content that excites or angers you. This strategy has been picked up by Facebook and has been heavily criticized since the Cambridge Analytica scandal for polarizing its users and spreading disinformation.

A few months earlier, a popular businessman recommended his users to use feed in chronological order so that they have full control over the news they consume. Now that he’s in control, he finds it more worthwhile to increase revenue than mental health or the quality of information his users consume.

Twitter is a private company and can do whatever is in the best interests of its business and the interests of its users. API access has always been a problem for the company as they can neither control the user experience nor generate revenue directly. Just like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube or Facebook do not allow such wide access, it makes sense that twitter wants to limit its use if, from an economic point of view, they are up to their necks in water.

The blockade came without warning, there is still no official statement

The problem with limiting third-party Twitter clients, like everything in life, is the forms. Without warning, at night, without explanation, without apology and ignoring the thousands of tweets that users write about this topic. Neither the work of others, nor the users themselves were respected. Meanwhile, Musk is still involved in his culture war. But time is ticking, and Twitter needs to attract more advertisers because a Twitter Blue subscription cannot offset the ad revenue it can generate.

The suddenness of the decision would surprise us all if all his decisions since he arrived were not exactly like this: impulsive and without responsibility for the consequences.

Source: Hiper Textual

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