Twitter is announcing today that it is making available a new tier for its application programming interface (API) that is reportedly designed to be used by startups and that will cost only a fraction of its enterprise package.
📣 Calling all start-ups 📣
Today we are launching our new access tier, Twitter API Pro!
Experiment, build, and scale your business with 1M Tweets per month, including our powerful real-time Filtered/Stream and Full Archive Search endpoints. We look forward to seeing what you…
— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) May 25, 2023
The Twitter Pro API, as it was called, is now available on the Developer Platform website of the social media company. According to the product’s description, developers will be able to tap on up to 1,000,000 tweets per month while being able to post up to 300,000 tweets per month as well.
The new tier comes to join Twitter’s free and basic plans, both of which grant users access to a fairly limited number of tweets for posting – 1,500 and 50,000 per month respectively. The basic plan costs $100 per month and it was designed primarily for the community’s beloved bot accounts that use the API to publish content automatically.
Third-Party Apps May Have Stayed if Twitter Launched This Pro Tier Earlier
The app-ocalypse caused by Twitter’s unexpected decision to shut down access to its free API was disconcerting for the social network’s developers’ community as it resulted in the immediate disappearance of apps such as Twitterrific, Iconfactory, and Tweetbot.
Francesco Di Lorenzo, the founder of Typefully, an app that lets community managers schedule posts to be published on the social network, commented that this new tier may have been enough for third-party apps to keep operating.
There is now a new Pro plan at $5k/mo.
A bunch of apps that were sold or shut down could have survived on this plan. https://t.co/jZUOXSXuOg
— Francesco Di Lorenzo (@frankdilo) May 25, 2023
However, Twitter also modified its Developers Agreement to ban the creation of substitute or similar interfaces that rely on the API and monetize consumers that would otherwise enroll for the platform’s Blue premium subscription if they did not exist.
This restriction is considered an attempt to reverse-engineer the platform’s interface and would lead to a suspension of the developer’s API account according to the agreement.
The Enterprise API package is, at the moment, the most powerful offered by Twitter. It was designed for large corporations and research firms that would benefit commercially from accessing the platform’s content.
According to reports from various media outlets, the cost of using this version of the API starts at $42,000 per month but increases depending on the number of tweets that the customer needs to access. To access this service, the customer must first apply by sending a form that discloses several details about its business.
In the case of the Basic and Pro tiers, the process of subscribing can be completed online within minutes via the Developer Platform website.
Elon Musk Wants Microsoft to Pay for Using Twitter’s Data “Illegally”
Earlier this month, Elon Musk claimed that companies developing large language models (LLMs) to train their artificial intelligence have been “illegally” using data from Twitter by exploiting the platform’s API.
The head of Tesla (TSLA) mentioned Microsoft directly and accused the Redmond-based tech firm of “ripping off the Twitter database, demonetizing it (removing ads) and then selling” Twitter’s data to third parties.
However, since Microsoft relied on the former free version of the social network’s API, it may be hard for Musk to prove its point. The company headed by Satya Nadella confirmed that a group of lawyers from Twitter approached their company with several questions about how their access to the API was used in the past.
“We heard from a law firm representing Twitter with some questions about our previous use of the free Twitter API. We will review these questions and respond appropriately”, a spokesperson for Microsoft commented.
Musk has claimed ever since he acquired Twitter that subscription could soon turn into the primary source of income for the platform. His intentions were made clear after he immediately revamped the company’s premium subscription plan Twitter Blue, charging $8 per month to web users and $11 per month to mobile users.
The launch of paid APIs is a strategy that aims to achieve this same goal and may work out for Twitter as long as businesses see the commercial value of the firm’s data. In the case of AI companies like Anthropic and OpenAI, they have reportedly used free data sources to train their models including tweets that were previously accessible for free via the former version of the API.
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