Twitter pushes API changes back further as concerns mount

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Twitter will now introduce its API changes over a week later than planned while concerns over the impact continue to grow.

Elon Musk’s social network first announced on 2 February 2023 that it was ending free access to its API (both v2 and v1.1) a week later on February 9th.

Twitter later pushed back the API changes to February 13th. Now, the company says it will take a bit longer again:

Despite being introduced in just a few days, Twitter is yet to set out exactly how much it will be charging developers for its API.

Musk has previously suggested that API access will be ~$100 per month while saying the cost, and verification process, will help prevent malicious bots:

Of course, not all Twitter bots are bad. Some, like ThreadReader, are useful and improve the experience for users.

Twitter says it will introduce a free tier that will incentivise “good” bots. The tier will allow such bots to tweet up to 1,500 times per month.

That might not be enough for popular bots like ThreadReader which can tweet several times a minute. At a few tweets per minute, ThreadReader would need a tier allowing for over 130,000 tweets per month.

Beyond some of the mind-numbing and humanity-questioning tweets, Twitter is a powerful source of real-time information and data. The platform was used heavily in response to the recent devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

Speaking to TIME, data scientists told how they scraped data from Twitter to create heat maps of calls for help from survivors and use the information to guide rescue workers. However, according to four data scientists, “the work has been hampered by recent changes to Twitter’s API”.

The imminent shut-off of free access to Twitter’s API is expected to further impact such vital work. A letter to Musk calling for Twitter to continue providing free access to those using the platform for social good has been signed by hundreds of academics, researchers, and analysts.

While Twitter has to make decisions to continue being a sustainable business, the sudden changes and lack of clarity are having very serious consequences for all those relying on the platform.

(Photo by Edgar on Unsplash)

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