Twitter Elon Musk

A handful of third-party apps for Twitter have been shut down since last Thursday and reports are now indicating that this could be an intentional measure from the company that Elon Musk just bought.

Twitter has gone radio silent and has abstained from responding to the inquiries sent by the most popular third-party apps made for the platform including Twitterrific and Tweetbot. The developers behind both applications have confirmed that the application programming interface (API) that allows their programs to connect with Twitter’s systems is not working anymore.

Also read: Mastodon Has All the Attention of Third-Party Twitter App Makers

The social media platform’s communications team was dismantled a few months ago when Elon Musk laid off thousands of employees to trim the company’s overhead. Thus far, no official statement has come out of the firm explaining what is happening.

Initially, third-party app developers thought the situation was just the result of a bug or a system malfunctioning. However, a report from The Information that cited an internal memo indicated that shutting down these apps was a deliberate action.

Why Would Twitter Shut Down Third-Party Apps?

If Twitter is intentionally shutting down third-party apps, there is only one plausible reason that would justify such a measure and that is that the company could be working to launch similar products and charge a subscription fee for them.

Elon Musk has repeatedly emphasized that Twitter will be migrating to a subscription model rather than relying fully on advertising revenue. His intentions were confirmed after the company quickly launched Twitter Blue, the company’s flagship premium subscription package.

Also read: Why Elon Musk Will Likely Lose ‘Funding Secured’ Tweet Trial?

Third-party apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot enable users to do things that they would not be allowed to normally by using the basic interface. For example, Twitterrific blocks ads, enables the use of VoiceOver, customizes the platform’s user interface, and allows users to delete and edit previous tweets.

Tweetbot does something similar as it allows users to customize their timelines, create “tweetlists” for different topics, and filter their timelines for the kind of content they would like to see.

These are all features that Twitter can either decide to incorporate into its Blue subscription package to charge a higher fee. One option the company has is to buy the most popular apps and create cost synergies by making them in-house projects.

The other option is what’s happening now. Shut down the competition and create their own version of these services while preventing others from competing by blocking the API access.

Are these Elon Musk’s intentions? Nobody knows just yet. The head of Tesla (TSLA) has not tweeted anything about the incident. According to the internal memo cited by The Information, the company’s official statement is being written and could be made public soon.

How Have App Developers Responded to the Situation?

The developers behind apps like Tweetbot have been outraged by Twitter’s lack of communication. Clearly, their business is under threat if Twitter is intentionally shutting down the API that they use to connect to the firm’s systems.

The creator of Twitterrific, Craig Hockenberry, was pretty vocal about his feelings as he published a blog called “The Shit Show” in which he compared what’s happening with Twitter’s client with the passing of his mom.

“What bothers me about Twitterrific’s final day is that it was not dignified. There was no advance notice for its creators, customers just got a weird error, and no one is explaining what’s going on. We had no chance to thank customers who have been with us for over a decade. Instead, it’s just another scene in their ongoing shit show”, Hockenberry’s blog post reads.

Many other developers have voiced their frustration over Twitter’s way of handling the situation. Some have opted to wait and see what the official stand will be while a not-so-small group has been working on similar apps that can be used on Twitter’s rival micro-blogging site – Mastodon.

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