Twitter revokes free access to its API
The Future. Twitter announced that it will stop providing free access to the Twitter API on February 9th, offering a “paid basic tier” in its stead. The move may help Twitter improve its difficult financial position but will also disrupt countless research projects and free open-access tools, potentially making the platform even more enemies.
A paywall play
The Verge covered what little is known about the upcoming “paid basic tier,” as well as the ramifications of the transition.
- Twitter’s API (Applied Programming Interface) currently lets third parties access and analyze public Twitter data, which can be used to create bots and applications that connect to the platform.
- On February 9th, creators of free programs, like novelty weather trackers or black-and-white image colorizers, will have to start charging fees for these services or shut down.
- Scientists and students who rely on analysis of Twitter’s public data may also be forced to abandon their projects.
- Twitter hasn’t announced how much the basic tier will cost but said that more details would come next week.
Twitter currently offers premium tiers of its API to developers who want access to extra information. The starting rate for the premium tier is reportedly $99/month but increases if subscribers want additional features.
This new policy is one of many extreme changes Elon Musk has made to increase the struggling company’s revenue streams. And there’s no question that Twitter’s financial situation is dire — the platform has failed to pay rent on office space.
But even if the paid basic tier for Twitter’s API makes the company money, moves like this one are likely to send users and investors running. Twitter needs approval like they need money, and money can’t buy them love.