Twitter Explains API Changes to Employees as Limits for Third-Party Apps Go Live

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Twitter's API changes went live today, disabling key features for third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterific.

    The new API removes timeline streaming, preventing third-party apps from refreshing timelines automatically, and it limits push notifications and other features. Twitter is also charging exorbitant fees for access to its new activity APIs, with access starting at $2,899 per month for up to 250 accounts.


    All third-party Twitter apps are affected by these changes. Tapbots yesterday updated the Tweetbot for iOS app to cripple multiple features popular with Tweetbot users. Timeline streaming over Wi-Fi is no longer available, for example, which means Twitter timelines will now refresh more slowly.

    Push notifications for Mentions and Direct Messages are delayed by several minutes, and push notifications for likes, retweets, follows, and quotes have been disabled entirely. The Activity and Stats tabs, which were reliant on now-deprecated activity APIs, have been removed from the app, and because the Apple Watch app was heavily dependent on Activity data, it too has been eliminated.

    Similar changes were introduced in Twitterrific in July, and as of today, the Twitterrific app is no longer able to receive and display native notifications. Twitterrific's Today center widget and Apple Watch app relied on these features, and have been removed.

    Twitterrific recommends Twitter users download the official Twitter app to receive their notifications, while using the Twitterrific app for everything else.

    As the changes went live, Twitter today sent out a company-wide email to employees that starts out by acknowledging the huge impact that third-party Twitter clients have had on growing the Twitter service before pointing towards "technical and business constraints" that prevent it from continuing to offer the APIs necessary to keep these apps working as before.
    Twitter has continually said that just 1 percent of Twitter developers use its now-deprecated APIs, but as these changes seem to impact most of the major Twitter clients, it's not clear how the 1 percent figure is being calculated.

    As TechCrunch points out, Twitter's email insists that the APIs were "legacy technology" that needed to be eliminated for "operational necessity," but it's Twitter, not an outside force, that has refused to maintain or redevelop the APIs third-party apps are using or transition existing apps over to the new API platform.

    Twitter has further explained its decision to remove the APIs in a blog post that says the "best Twitter experience" it can provide is through its own "owned and operated Twitter for iOS and Android apps, as well as desktop and mobile"

    Article Link: Twitter Explains API Changes to Employees as Limits for Third-Party Apps Go Live
  2. lec0rsaire macrumors 65816

    Feb 23, 2017
    I use the stock Twitter app. Why pay for Tweetbot when it is crippled? I don’t like ads but I’m not going to use a product that doesn’t support real time tweets just to be ad free. Tweetbot and Twitterific were great before Twitter crippled the 3rd party API.
  3. itsmilo macrumors 68020


    Sep 15, 2016
    Maybe if your own app wasn’t spam galore, people would be more satisfied with it. Just saying
  4. MacDevil7334 macrumors 65816


    Oct 15, 2011
    Austin TX
    If the point wasn’t to kill 3rd party clients, they would have developed new APIs that were based on “newer” technologies Twitter “supports” to replicate the functionality of the APIs being retired. Removing functionality critical to 3rd party clients and offering no replacement can only be seen as an effort to cripple those clients. Twitter can protest all they want but that’s the reality.
  5. Johnny Steps macrumors 6502

    Johnny Steps

    Jun 29, 2011
    Well I've closed my Facebook and Instagram, so you can be next Twitter!
  6. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    I am amazed at how Twitter has grown and subsisted almost in spite of itself. It seems to do nearly everything wrong/backwards, and is still around.
  7. jsmith189 macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2014
    Kills Mac app.
    Kills APIs so you can't effectively use any other Mac app.
  8. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Many reasons for using 3rd party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterific.
    1. Syncs timeline across multiple devices, whether it be iPhone, iPad, or macOS.
    2. Do not insist on showing me what Twitter thinks I should see first.
    3. Native macOS apps.
    4. iPad version does not look like crap.
    5. Looks much nicer (at least to me).
    6. Many power features for managing my feeds and suppressing what I don't want to see.
    7. Much better at managing multiple lists.
    8. No ads, but I don't mind seeing ads as Twitter is entitled to make money too.
  9. itsmilo macrumors 68020


    Sep 15, 2016
    I just cannot deal with this „what you may have missed“ who you may know „same tweets I already saw on top, AGAIN in the feed. Random tweets from yesterday thrown in the mix

    (Black Twitterrific, white Twitter)

    Attached Files:

  10. Corrode macrumors 6502a


    Dec 26, 2008
    Calgary, AB
    If you look at every single individual Twitter integration there is (sign in with Twitter, analytics, customer service, blocking services, etc) then this number makes sense. Tapbots is a single developer out of thousands that make tiny little integrations but still technically count as developers.

    Not saying it’s right in justifying the impact, but that’s almost certainly how they’re calculating 1%.
  11. Bokito, Aug 16, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018

    Bokito macrumors regular

    May 29, 2007
    If you honestly need to explain such changes to your own employees you’re doing something wrong.

    The 3th party apps build the core Twitter experience, Twitter only created the foundation but they do a very bad job maintaining it. Even worse, the 3th party apps have a different experience now as they’re more responsive and just show a timeline and not things that ‘I have missed’ and things people like.

    As long as it’s reasonably possible I will use 3th party clients as the experience is vastly superior over the core Twitter experience. It doesn’t need to be ad-free for me, but I just need a timeline with Tweets.
  12. ViDeOmAnCiNi macrumors member


    Sep 15, 2016
    The Twitter branded app is CRAP. So much junk in it. As of this AM I have muted 4970 different advert accounts and blocked 41. The thing where it says "so and so that you follow liked this post" is MADDENING and keeps coming back every month or so. If Twit wasn't screwing every 3rd party app, I'd switch in a heartbeat.
  13. Greymacuser macrumors 6502


    Jul 31, 2012
  14. jclo Editor


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    This is actually the Tweetbot for Mac logo.
  15. bluespark macrumors 68000

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    If these are "legacy" APIs, then Twitter should update them. Then, they won't be legacy APIs any more.

    Or it could look inward and hope that its approach works for all users. It won't, of course, and that will weigh down the platform.
  16. hagar macrumors 6502a

    Jan 19, 2008
    So instead of having a healthy ecosystem of users and third party developers, they decide to throw it all away. Why? It just doesn't make any sense.

    Luckily they still have Trump blasting his crazy tweets into the world to stay relevant. And when that (finally!) falls away, Twitter could well be facing a decline in its user base.
  17. busyscott macrumors regular


    Sep 29, 2015
    Lol, "we want to be straight forward with what we're doing with the API" also "we're not killing 3rd parties" also "we're killing the API's third parties need to function."

    This is the type of defense I'd expect a murderer to use after he rejected representation from the public defender.

    "I didn't murder him, your honor. I simply locked him in a cage and didn't give him food or water. You should put starvation on trial, not me!"
  18. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    Costs a lot of money to keep an API going. Seems most here don't understand this. Lots of crying going on. Twitter won't miss those that stop using it because of this move. You were just a leech on their system anyways with your 3rd party app and lack of ads.
  19. DeepIn2U macrumors 603


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    My thoughts exactly. However as noted below many feel that there is a great benefit to such 3rd party apps, and quite honestly, TweetBot is the best in the business ... even comparing every other platform.

    In the previous thread posted today I originally posted ...

    After a few rebuttals re-iterated and adjusted my thoughts ...

    Frankly, if Twitter was really '... committed to understanding why people hire 3rd party clients over our own apps ..' and grateful for these 3rd party developers for 'working with us to get there' Why doesn't Twitter just

    - KILL their own App entirely.
    - work with 3rd party developers to facilitate anything (including API's) beyond what the Web UI offers for Twitter (and the TVOS app) ?!

    To me this would be the BEST working example of open-source collaboration and each developer can develop their own unique take on API's into their UIs and navigation.

    We'll we'll now see Twitter end user numbers drop.
  20. OneHandWaving macrumors newbie

    Oct 11, 2014
    The official Twitter app is crap, that’s why I use Tweetbot. Twitter has been described as a clown car that ran into a goldmine. The clowns are still in charge.
  21. w00master macrumors 65816

    Jul 18, 2002
    Why use a 3rd party versus stock? Because the stock app is terrible, and every change that they've made has NOT improved it.

    For me, the question now is: why do I continue to use Twitter in the first place? Methinks it's time to quit.
  22. mattyj2001 macrumors member


    Oct 29, 2015
    In other words, after all the data sharing scandals and purging of millions of accounts, they have to generate revenue somehow, and that means taking eyeballs off third party apps and putting them on their own. It really is that simple. Twitter has never cared about user experience, they care about impressions.
  23. busyscott macrumors regular


    Sep 29, 2015
    Based on the email included in this article, it seems to me they are saying "we can't replace (all of) them" and "the percentage of developers who use (all of) them is less than 1%" They are definitely skewing the numbers here to seem better than it is.
  24. lunarworks macrumors 65816

    Jun 17, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    "People are starting to hate Twitter. What do we do to make people love it again?"

    "I've got an idea: More Nazis, less functionality."

    "Great! Let's get to work!"
  25. fairuz, Aug 16, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018

    fairuz macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    Yep, the one thing nobody else is willing to say. For the very few people affected, it's not like Twitter is an essential service even in the broadest terms.

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