Third-Party Twitter Clients Officially Banned After Being Disabled Previously

Twitter, after a suspected deliberate killing of popular third-party Twitter clients like Twitterific and Tweetbot, updated its developer terms today to quietly ban third-party clients altogether.

A new clause in the “restrictions” section of Twitter’s developer agreement now prohibits the use or access of the materials provided by Twitter to:

Create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications.

Without specifying which rules the developers had violated, Twitter said earlier this week that it would be “enforcing long-standing API rules” by denying access to its platform for clients.

Twitter clients, like Twitterific, created before Twitter had its own native iOS, played a vital role throughout the platform’s development and gained a massive following, likely thanks to their lack of ads.

With Musk in charge, things have changed for the worse for developers

Historically, Twitter had a positive attitude towards third-party clients, even showing support and granting permissions to the developers, most notably when the company removed a clause from its developer terms that discouraged the developers from replicating its core service.

Twitterfic’s Sean Heber called Twitter “increasingly capricious” in a blog post and said Twitter is a company he can:

No longer recognize as trustworthy nor want to work with any longer.

Other developers, including Matteo Villa, the developer of Fenix, complain about the lack of communication from Twitter’s side, even though the company no longer has a communications department.

Twitter’s Desperate Measures to Cut Costs Reflect a Financial Issue

This news comes at an already lousy time for Twitter, as the company faces various challenges on several fronts. Spurred by unpredictable, fast-changing content policies, advertisers are fleeing the platform as Twitter falls under immense pressure to turn a profit or at least break even.

The company has $12.5 billion in debt and has been cutting down internal revenue projections. For reference, Twitter’s revenue in 2021 was $5,1 billion, out of which $4,5 billion came from advertising.

Cutting down costs, the company reduced janitorial services, forcing some of its employees to bring their own toilet paper to work, the New York Times reported.

Twitter also stopped paying rent for some of its offices and tried to save up to $500 million by shutting down a data center, launching a fire sale, and putting office items up for auction.

As Elon Musk revises Twitter Blue pricing — the company’s primary means of generating revenue after its policies scared advertisers away — Twitter also seems to be chasing after campaign dollars in 2024 as it plans to lift the ban on political advertising.

Reports suggest Twitter is considering selling usernames on online auctions after Musk hinted last month that the company would free up to 1.5 billion usernames belonging to inactive accounts.

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