Twitter has “zero credibility” after API change

Twitter has put the squeeze on third-party developers with a series of API updates that are aimed at creating a more uniform platform.

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The company announced its latest API, version 1.1, and quickly came under fire from app developers for the way it will impact third-party apps.

The changes – detailed in a Twitter blog post – are designed to give the company more control over apps, but could have a damaging impact on third-party clients such as Tweetbot.

I sure as hell wouldn’t build a business on Twitter – and if I were in the Twitter-client business, I’d start working on another product

The rules mean that independent software developers who create new apps will need Twitters’ permission to support more than 100,000 users. Existing apps with more than 100,000 users will be allowed 200,000 users.

Developer criticism

The changes have come under fire from developers who believe it makes it impossible to build a business based on creating apps and services for the social network’s users.

“Twitter has proven to be unstable and unpredictable, and any assurances they give about whether something will be permitted in the future have zero credibility,” said Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper, in a blog post.

“I sure as hell wouldn’t build a business on Twitter, and I don’t think I’ll even build any non-trivial features on it any more. And if I were in the Twitter-client business, I’d start working on another product.”

Despite widespread criticism, the changes did not come as a surprise to some company observers, as Twitter signalled its intentions to clamp down on its platform when it ended a syndication deal to show tweets within LinkedIn’s website.

Other changes to the rules require than any third-party apps pre-installed on handsets require Twitter approval, while all third-party apps accessing the API will need to be authenticated.

“Currently in the Twitter API, we allow developers access to certain API endpoints without requiring their applications to authenticate, essentially enabling them to access public information from the Twitter API without us knowing who they are,” the company said, adding that the current system had allowed a growth in content scraping and bots.

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