The big tech company will start charging developers and third-party services to use the essential tool on Feb. 9.
Twitter announced it would start charging third-party services and developers for access to its application programming interface (API) on Feb. 9.
An API is any software tool that allows two computer applications to communicate with each other. In this instance, third-party services, researchers, and developers will no longer be able to use Twitter’s data for free to build new services and offerings they charge for.
Twitter already offered free and paid versions of its API, but the free tier will be removed altogether. The Twitter API historically has been used to track follower data and misinformation online, as well as to offer services like setting reminders and alerts. Starting Feb. 9, developers who used the free version of the Twitter API can still use it under a new basic paid tier.
Twitter Developer’s official account released the news on Thursday.
The announcement came in three short tweets with not much direction on what affected developers can expect next week.
Thousands of replies to the tweets have been flowing in, with most people confused about the timing of the notice. Twitter monetizing its API is another tactic the microblogging site is resorting to attract revenue since Elon Musk took over ownership last October.
Developers have been complaining about access to the Twitter API since the social media site recently blocked various third-party services like Tweetbot and Twitterific from using it.
Twitter updated its developer agreement two weeks ago that included a new clause prohibiting the “use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications.” This essentially shut all third-party clients from offering new services to Twitter users using the Twitter API, so they began shuttering their apps and offerings altogether.
Now that Twitter is implementing the changes in a week, it’ll be interesting to see if avid users cut a check to continue using the API, or return to it.
Sprout Social replied in the tweet thread and said its services won’t be affected by this change. Sprout Social is a software company that develops social media management tools for people and brands. Rightfully so, another Twitter user asked Sprout Social if it will still provide its free tier of services because it will have to start paying to use the Twitter API. The company hasn’t replied yet.
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