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Twitter Bans Third-Party Client Apps

At Engadget, Karissa Bell writes:

In case there was any doubt about Twitter’s intentions in cutting off the developers of third-party apps, the company has quietly updated its developer agreement to make clear that app makers are no longer permitted to create their own clients.

Last week, many independent Twitter apps abruptly stopped working when Twitter shut down the necessary API without explanation. In the latest news from Twitter’s slow-motion implosion, Engadget discovered that Twitter has now updated its developer agreement to exclude third-party clients. That makes the appicide official, to the extent that anything coming out of Twitter these days is official. In response, The Iconfactory formally announced that it has discontinued Twitterrific for macOS and iOS, and Tapbots published a memorial to its now-defunct Tweetbot app. Twitter may be able to deliver more ad impressions through its native apps, but this move may finally drive many long-time users who relied on apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot to Mastodon.

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Comments About Twitter Bans Third-Party Client Apps

Notable Replies

  1. It seems strange to me that Twitter just didn’t force the third-party apps to start showing their ads. (Ads are just tweets after all). I always thought that was strange (though I enjoyed it as a benefit of using a third-party client.)

  2. will the last Twitter user please turn out the lights?

    Of course, I always thought the core concept of Twitter (a mechanism to yell soundbites back and forth) was flawed from the very beginning. So I’m happy to see it collapse. And the fact that it’s Elon Musk footing the bill just makes it all the more sweet.

  3. I have a long history there, but my feelings about social media had been shifting for a good while before Musk turned up. I suspended my account there a few months ago and set a tool, Jumbo, off deleting my tweets.

    I had an account with Mastodon since 2017, but I have not been that pushed to commit more fully.

  4. There is no question that Twitter can be a nasty place but it is also possible to follow people and gov’t agencies and not see the nonsense.

    I use Twitter to follow the National Weather Service, County Emergency Manager, National Forest info on wildfires and prescribed burns, ADOT for road conditions, as well as many photographers and atmospheric scientists.

    I never see ads. I don’t see promoted Tweets. I use a Single Site Browser setup to use TweetDeck. I also use Simplified for Twitter to clean up the appearance when using a regular browser.

    So far, none of these have been blocked. We’ll see what the future holds.

  5. Wow, every change now is being described as the “downfall of Twitter.” I understand that third parties rely on revenue that’s now been taken away, and that’s not good. There should have been communication and preparation for that. I’m just not on the bandwagon that suddenly hates everything Musk does.

  6. Tweaks for Twitter Safari extension allows me to skip the ads as well as fix a number of other objectionable Twitter “features” in both macOS and iOS/iPadOS.

  7. Sure, but it also misses the really powerful muffling features of Twitterrific, or the muting of Tweetbot. Yes, you can mute hashtags, people, and specific phrases in the stock Twitter site/app (I think - I hardly ever used them), but you can also use regular expressions in those other apps. So powerful, so much better than the stock experience, and they were native apps, rather than just web pages (on mobile devices like iPhone and iPad).

    I still have a mobile app that works for now; when Twitter finally figured out that one is still working and removes their tokens, I’ll probably be off for good.

  8. I don’t think this is a per-client/token disconnect. As I understand it, they turned off the API altogether.

    If your app is still working, then it probably isn’t using the API but is instead using some other mechanism (screen scraping?) for accessing the service.

  9. There’s evidence to the contrary. At least one third-party app developer (Tweetbot?) had a spare set of authorized tokens. They switched to them, and their app started working again but was shut down again shortly thereafter. Also, the official Twitter app still works and is reputed to use mostly the same APIs.

  10. Oh, no, the API is still working fine.

    Apparently Twitter added a new rule that the API cannot be used to duplicate the functionality of the Twitter stock app. They’ve been allowing it for about 12 years, until last week, when they added the new restriction.

    About ten years or so ago they limited the number of client tokens that one developer could have, but over time they relaxed that. Until they didn’t last week.

    There are still apps (Spring for Twitter) that work - but who knows for how long.

  11. And now Spring has lost their access. I’ll miss Twitter. Mastodon still isn’t there yet for me - not enough of the accounts I’ve followed (or watched via lists) have moved over, and I expect that many won’t.

  12. Just noticed that Twitteriffic stopped working. I re-installed the Twitter app (which seemed not to work before) and now yet again it does not allow me to share a URL to Twitter just spins interminably. I only used Twitteriffic for this function. Any ideas of Safari plugins that allow sharing URL’s to Twitter?

  13. The thing is, will Mastodon just become the same cesspool if everyone moves over to it from Twitter?
    If so, what’s the point, if you already hate the stuff that happens on Twitter…?

  14. Not the same cesspool. But hundreds of independent cesspools, with each one being moderated according to its own policy.

    Since I don’t use it, I don’t know if you have an option to block content from federated servers with policies you don’t like. Hopefully, there is.

  15. Yes, a user on Mastodon can block a server (domain, instance) as well as a person. The admin of your server can also block servers on behalf of your whole server. Mastodon is significantly different from Twitter, although there is pressure to add some features of Twitter. Since there’s no algorithm adding tweets to your timeline (let alone ads), Masto is much like having a 3rd party Twitter client.
    If you can find a server whose policies you agree with, and that’s small enough to be easily run by one or a few admins, it works pretty well in my experience.
    I’m hopeful that folks who want to make a lot of nasty noise will not find Mastodon useful for that, and go somewhere else.

  16. I, too, don’t hate everything Musk does. I just dislike Musk. Some sociopaths make great CEOs, entrepreneurs and con artists, but they make terrible managers and administrators. They’re conceptual and financial risk-takers, but narcissistic and impulsive. People are things. I did business with these characters for 40 years in Silicon Valley. Thank God I’m retired.

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