Twitter’s Bullshit

As you probably remember, Twitter published some questionable API changes a few months ago. Twitter apps can request up to 100,000 user tokens before they’re cut off. If they need more, developers are asked to contact Twitter:

Requiring developers to work with us directly if you need a large amount of user tokens

One of the key things we’ve learned over the past few years is that when developers begin to demand an increasingly high volume of API calls, we can guide them toward areas of value for users and their businesses. To that end, and similar to some other companies, we will require you to work with us directly if you believe your application will need more than one million individual user tokens.

Additionally, if you are building a Twitter client application that is accessing the home timeline, account settings or direct messages API endpoints (typically used by traditional client applications) or are using our User Streams product, you will need our permission if your application will require more than 100,000 individual user tokens.

Ok, Twitter’s getting strict about the apps they allow. But if an app becomes so popular it needs over 100,000 tokens then surely it’s in Twitter’s best interest to support the developer, right?


Windows Observer reports that Tweetro, the first Windows 8 Twitter client by Lazyworm Applications, just got thrown under the bus by Twitter. They’ve published the response from Twitter that Atta Elayyan, the developer of Tweetro got when asking to work on more API tokens.

“Thank you for reaching out to get clarification on our developer policies. As you know, we discourage developers from building apps that replicate our core user experience (aka “Twitter clients”). We know that there are developers that want to take their passion for Twitter and its ecosystem to unique underserved situations. As such, we have built some flexibility into our policy with regard to user tokens – which went into effect September 5th, 2012.”

“…Unfortunately, It does not appear that your service addresses an area that our current or future products do not already serve. As such, it does not qualify for an exemption.”

So, a developer who reached 100,000 tokens followed the Twitter API. They reached out to Twitter to work through the token limit only for Twitter to say their app doesn’t qualify because it doesn’t serve a purpose that Twitter’s own apps don’t already serve.

Tweetro operates on Windows 8. Twitter has no Windows client at all, let alone for Windows 8. Blocking an app because Twitter might release one is a poor reason.

Tweetro operates in the same way as Twitter’s own apps, but that’s the point. That’s why many 3rd party apps are out there. Have you ever tried to use Twitter for iPhone? It’s total crap. It doesn’t even resemble Tweetie any more after they lobotomised it. I use TweetBot because it’s by far the best iOS app. it’s quick, slick and works like a Twitter app should.

Twitter’s popularity soared because of the plethora of 3rd party apps that came about to support it. They owe their success to them. I can understand that they want to focus the attention on 1st party apps and they easily do this by simply not including links to 3rd party apps. They already pulled the source details from tweets that detail which app posted it. Seasoned Twitter users are going to look for better apps regardless, there’s no way to stop them. If they pull one app, they’ll find another.

I’d wager the majority of Twitter users don’t know or don’t care about 3rd party apps, they’re casual users and Twitter doesn’t need to worry about losing them. If a single app becomes hugely popular, that’s not a cause for concern. They’re still Twitter users.

My one question I have is if Twitter won’t allow more than 100,000 tokens, then why suggest that they’ll work with developers to work on a solution?