Twitter Confirms Third-Party Apps Like Tweetbot Were Intentionally Blocked

Third-party Twitter apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific have been intentionally blocked from using Twitter APIs, Twitter confirmed today. Without access to the underlying code for the social network, Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Birdie, Echofon, and other popular Twitter clients are non-functional and cannot be used.

Twitter Feature
Twitter's Dev account today said in a tweet that Twitter is "enforcing its long-standing API rules," a change that could cause some apps not to work. There has been no word on which API rules the blocked Twitter clients have violated, and this is the first time that Twitter has provided insight into what's going on with third-party Twitter apps since they stopped working last Thursday.

When some third-party Twitter apps became unusable last week, it was initially believed that there could be some kind of bug causing the outage. Only the most popular Twitter clients were affected and blocked from Twitter's APIs, perhaps indicating an internal error. As Twitter declined to comment on the situation for days, however, it became clearer that it was an intentional decision. Over the weekend, The Information said that in an internal Slack channel, a senior software engineer at Twitter clarified that the suspensions were done on purpose, suggesting many Twitter employees were not even aware of what was going on.

It is not known why Twitter has provided so little information on what is happening to highly popular third-party Twitter apps that have existed for years, nor if these apps will again be provided with access to the API if changes are made. Developers like Iconfactory and Tapbots (responsible for Twitterrific and Tweetbot, respectively), received no warning about the shutdown and were not provided with information on why their apps stopped working.

Apps like Tweetbot have been around for more than a decade at this point, with loyal users, full teams of developers, and a major investment in the social network. Developers have expressed their frustration at Twitter's decision and lack of communication, as have longtime Twitter users.

MacStories, for example, called Twitter's actions "disgraceful" and "unprofessional," with Twitter demonstrating a "total lack of respect" for the role that third-party apps have played in the success of the social network.

Jason Snell called Twitter's actions "clueless, classless, and cowardly," and John Gruber said this is likely the end of his regular usage of Twitter as Twitter's own client is "terrible."

At this point, it isn't clear when or if we're going to get more information about third-party Twitter clients from Twitter, nor if the apps that have had their API access revoked will be back in some capacity. Tapbots is now speeding up development on Ivory, its app for the Mastodon social network, and Twitterrific's Craig Hockenberry said that he will be exploring the concept of a truly universal timeline that leverages how open standards can be used in "new and different ways."

Tag: Twitter

Top Rated Comments

sniffies Avatar
3 weeks ago
The insecure space Karen is just fed up with the fact that third-party apps are better than the official one. So, instead of improving his, he decided to block theirs.

If you can't beat 'em, block 'em.
Score: 98 Votes (Like | Disagree)
STOCK411 Avatar
3 weeks ago
Tweebot has been around for 10 years.. I would LOVE to know what "rule" they broke, given they have existed for 10 years without any issues...

And lol at that "statement" from twitter... It took you 6 days to come up with that crap? A six year old could come up with a better statement in a day


Elon is a Coward....
Score: 98 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsplusmacs Avatar
3 weeks ago
Twitter is dead.

Long live Mastodon.
Score: 75 Votes (Like | Disagree)
moabal Avatar
3 weeks ago
Cowards for not coming out with a detailed statement when this started.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsplusmacs Avatar
3 weeks ago
I mean, this story just came out today:

https://www.reuters.com/technology/tesla-video-promoting-self-driving-was-staged-engineer-testifies-2023-01-17/

He's been a fraud all along.
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GizmoDVD Avatar
3 weeks ago
Musk is doing what he can to kill Twitter completely. Just amazing watching him throw away tens of billions of dollars and hurt his Tesla brand in the process. Just amazing.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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