Twitter will discontinue offering free access to the Twitter API starting February 9 and will launch a paid version, the Elon Musk-owned microblogging website said as it looks for more avenues to monetize the platform.
In a series of tweets, the Twitter Developer account said the firm will be ending support for both legacy v1.1 and the new v2 of its Twitter APIs. The company hasn’t provided any information about what it plans to charge for API usage.
The move follows Twitter abruptly changed the terms of its API in recent weeks that was used by many popular Twitter clients such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific. Most third-party Twitter apps have shut down their mobile apps.
Starting February 9, we will no longer support free access to the Twitter API, both v2 and v1.1. A paid basic tier will be available instead 🧵
— Twitter Dev (@TwitterDev) February 2, 2023
Twitter data are among the world’s most powerful data sets. We’re committed to enabling fast & comprehensive access so you can continue to build with us,” Twitter Dev account said Thursday.
“Over the years, hundreds of millions of people have sent over a trillion Tweets, with billions more every week.”
While the company had already shut out third-party clients, other app developers had taken a cautious approach to advance its development with Twitter APIs. This new move might force some developers to shut down their products or start charging for them even for basic usage.
Thousands of developers use Twitter API to build informative bots about weather and information. These are fun side projects for people who might not be willing to pay fees for something that might not pay their bills.
The company hasn’t clarified if it also plans to end free API usage for researchers. Twitter’s new announcement might impact research in different areas including hate speech and online abuse. Universities often use Twitter to study human behavior in different regions. Putting a cap on free API usage could also stop firms working around detecting the spread of misinformation on Twitter.
Scores of developers use Twitter’s API to interact with the social network. The company has had a strange relationship with developers since its inception. But the relationship largely worked because third-party firms were often the ones shipping new products and features for Twitter and the social network wanted to keep the ecosystem alive.
In recent years, Twitter tried to repair relationships with developers by launching new programs like the Twitter toolbox for app discovery. A lot of them have been shut down under the new management.
Under Musk’s helm, Twitter is scrambling to control how users around the globe access the platform as it broadens its attempts to monetize the service.
Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion in late October. He took a loan of about $12.5 billion to finance the deal. To keep Twitter alive, a service that is not profitable, Musk has to pay an additional $1.5 billion a year in interest alone. So naturally, Musk is pushing to make Twitter more self-sustainable.
Twitter has revamped — and made more expensive — its subscription service and tweaked how tweets appear on a user’s timeline to make the platform more engaging, lucrative, and an attractive destination for an otherwise increasingly dwindling advertiser base.