Twitter explained why they hurt Tweetbot users




Not so long ago we told bad news about alternative Twitter clients. The company decided to disable the API, which gave developers of third-party clients access to many functions of the social network. Tweetbot users and other third-party clients were upset. Even more upset their developers. Why was it necessary to upset so many people? We will try to find out.

TechCrunch posted an internal email for Twitter employees. It explains the deed, which the company had to go to. You have the opportunity to read the text of this letter.

Hello team,

Today we publish a blog post about our priorities in developing the positive experience of Twitter users. I wanted to share with you information about how we achieved these decisions, and our attitude towards third-party clients.

For starters, a little history:

Third-party customers have had a significant impact on Twitter and our products. Independent developers have created the first Twitter client for Mac and the first native iPhone application. It is these customers who have shown functions that we know well and love on Twitter, such as mute, a gesture for updating the tape, and much more.

We like that developers create a new experience using our API, promote our service, technology and communication. We deeply respect the time, energy and passion that they invest in creating stunning things with Twitter.

But we have not always been straightforward with developers about the decisions we make regarding third-party clients. In 2011, we told the developers (in an e-mail) not to create applications that mimic the basic experience of using Twitter. In 2012, we announced changes in our policy of relations with third-party developers aimed at making the restrictions more understandable, limiting the number of users allowed for an outside client. Years after these announcements, we repeatedly told the developers that our API plans do not prioritize use in clients – even if we continue to support certain specific APIs used by clients, and provide exceptions for customers who need them.

It’s time to make a firm decision to stop supporting these obsolete APIs and admit that as a result, some parts of these applications will be degraded. Today we are faced with technical and business constraints that we can not ignore. APIs User Streams and Site Streams, which are responsible for the operation of important functions of many clients, are in the “beta” state for more than 9 years and were created on a technological stack that we no longer support. We do not change our rules and are not going to “kill” third-party clients, but we are killing some of the legacy APIs that are of some importance to these customers, due to production need. Today, for us, there is no opportunity to invest in the creation of a new service to replace these APIs, which are used by less than 1% of Twitter developers.

We have heard feedback from our customers about the difficulties that this causes. We often check #BreakingMyTwitter and have conversations with many developers of large third-party clients to understand their problems and needs. We strive to find out why people prefer third-party clients to our own applications. And we will try our best to honestly and understandably explain the changes to the developers. We have a lot of work. These changes are a difficult but important step for its implementation. Thank you for working with us on this.

Thank you.


Rob Johnson later published fast in the Twitter blog, which he mentioned in his letter. In it, he tried to explain the need to close the API and talk about the benefits of official Twitter customers. For some reason, not all of them are used. Do you know about the reasons? Tell us in our Telegram-chat .


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