Elon Musk could now opt to allow some creators to access the Twitter application programming interface (API) for free after some users complained that the launch of a paid version will immediately kill some bot accounts that regularly post popular content.
Musk asserted that bot accounts that had “Verified” status and posted “good content” could be eligible to access this free, yet lighter and write-only, version of the API, in response to a tweet from a user who pointed at an account that automatically shared updates about a cat walking into and out of a home – a.k.a. @PepitoTheCat.
Responding to feedback, Twitter will enable a light, write-only API for bots providing good content that is free
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 5, 2023
In previous discussions about Musk’s decision to charge developers for accessing Twitter’s systems, the founder of Tesla (TSLA) unofficially commented that the price of the solution could be around $100 a month.
Moreover, he emphasized that the reason why accessing the feature will no longer be free of charge is that bad actors were abusing the platform by exploiting the API to create bots that spread misinformation, fake news, or engaged in fraudulent operations.
These comments come three days before the official rollout of the paid API access. Twitter has not officially revealed how much it will charge for this tool but Musk’s ballpark figure could turn out to be close to the final figure.
Almost a Month Has Passed Since Twitter Shut Down Access to its API
App developers that used Twitter’s API started to complain about issues their programs were having to access the firm’s systems since mid-January. The company made no official about what was going on back then.
Only days after, Twitter silently changed its rules concerning the use of the tool to create third-party applications and introduced restrictions regarding the development of “substitute or similar” user interfaces.
This clause immediately killed long-standing third-party apps such as Twiterrific and Tweetbot, both of which charged a subscription to users for accessing an enhanced version of Twitter that allowed users to edit tweets and customize their timelines.
No notification was sent to developers before the measure and this caused outrage and disappointment among the large community of software engineers and firms who worked alongside Twitter to build its ecosystem.
More than two weeks after the controversy, the official developer assistance Twitter account stated that starting on 9 February, accessing the platform’s v2 and v1.1 API will no longer be free.
The decision was considered another attempt from the new owner of Twitter – Elon Musk – to generate additional revenues as advertisers have been shunning the platform due to concerns about how the billionaire founder of SpaceX is turning things around.
Musk Keeps Turning the Tables to Make Twitter Profitable
The list of changes that Musk has introduced since he took over the reins in early November last year is growing by the minute. First, he started by laying off roughly half of the company’s headcount along with thousands of independent contractors, many of which were content moderators.
Shortly afterward, Musk launched a revamped version of Twitter Blue, the platform’s premium subscription package that will now allow users to earn the long-sought “Verified” blue badge by paying $11 per month if the platform is accessed via a mobile phone.
In addition, Musk removed a ban on political ads and cause-based content to try to salvage the exodus of commercial advertisers who were running for the hills due to fears that the social media platform could become a place filled with fake news, hate speech, and racism due to a weakened content moderation department.
Musk’s crusade to make Twitter profitable is not without merits or cause as he took a $12.5 billion loan to take the company private. This would generate annual interest expenses of at least $600 million according to sources familiar with the terms of the arrangement.
In any case, developers will have to wait three more days before they learn more about the platform’s API tool including the cost of accessing it and for which purposes it can and cannot be used.
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