About a week ago, a bunch of popular Twitter apps on both iOS and android stopped working and those who use (and build) the apps worried that Twitter might have cut them off. Silence created tension, only to have Twitter vaguely address the situation in a simple Tweet suggesting that “some apps” may no longer work as the company started “enforcing its long-standing API rules.”
Today, the social network updated its developer agreement with clearer terms that essentially puts a ban on 3rd party clients.
The new developer agreement (new, old – via Engadget) includes a note in the Restrictions section saying that you will not “use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications.” I'm not sure the new Twitter owners could get any clearer in saying that they don't want 3rd party Twitter apps around and would instead like you to use official apps.
For most of the past week, the Twitter apps that stopped working never did regain functionality, as far as I know. Some apps still worked, though, so it'll be interesting to see what happens now. Early signs point to those that were still working are starting to be cut off, like Twitterific for Mac.
Today marks the end of an era. Sadly, we've been forced to pull Twitterrific from both the iOS and Mac App Stores.
Twitter's unexplained revocation of our API access has left the app with no path forward. Please read our blog for more information🖖 https://t.co/UZSdmqZtMD
— Twitterrific (@Twitterrific) January 19, 2023
What an unfortunate situation. 3rd party Twitter apps were without a doubt a major reason why many continued to use the service. They often offered improved takes on the Twitter experience and more than likely influenced the direction that official Twitter apps have followed as they have improved over the years.
You may recall that this isn't the first time that Twitter has made the wrong choice when it comes to third party apps. They cut off most back in 2015, only to admit the move was an error and welcome back the third party ecosystem.
Knowing the combative approach to the platform from the current ownership of Twitter, I can't imagine we'll see this change reversed any time soon.