Official: Twitter bans third-party clients

A few days after denying API access to popular third clients for Twitter including Tweetbot and Twitterific, Twitter has now updated its developer terms to specifically ban third-party clients altogether from offering the services the official applications and websites do.

The developer agreement Twitter has, a 5,000-word document listing their terms of use, now has an addition in the “restrictions” section with a clause that prohibits, “use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications”

After their API access was revoked, multiple developers working on different third-party clients, of which some like Twitterific have been around for more than 15 years and was present as an iOS app even before Twitter had a native iOS app, were understandably angry and disappointed.

Sean Heber from Twitterific wrote a blog post confirming the end of their 16-year-old platform, “We are sorry to say that the app’s sudden and undignified demise is due to an unannounced and undocumented policy change by an increasingly capricious Twitter – a Twitter that we no longer recognize as trustworthy nor want to work with any longer,”

The same is happening with other clients, including Fenix, which has already been pulled down from the Google Play Store. However, its developer Matteo Villa says that the iOS version of the app still has API access. “I’m left with an app working fine on iOS that people are still buying, but I’m wondering if I should pull it too,” Matteo told Engadget.

With the consensus being Twitter is banning these third-party clients to funnel users into the official platforms where monetization is straightforward including the introduction of Twitter Blue, which gives a subscriber extra features and reduced ads, something which some of the third-party clients would give you for free. It remains to be seen whether it will play a part in making a positive financial turn for the company, which is currently saddled with debt

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As for the developers of the third-party clients, there isn’t really much they can do, as persisting forward with their projects will likely draw lawsuits from Twitter. The only thing they can hope for is for Twitter to have a change of heart, which is unlikely given that aside from the updated developer agreement, Twitter has not made an official statement addressing this issue.

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Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at criskariuki@gmail.com Twitter @KarisNaftaly