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PSA: Twitter is ending free API access – check your login methods

Twitter is so lame now.

Twitter outline logo
Image: KnowTechie

Twitter announced that starting on February 9, it will no longer offer any type of free API access. That’s a big problem.

We’re not going to bore you with details, but basically, any service that allows you to sign up through Twitter will now cost the developers money for continued use.

Not only is this decision being deployed extremely quickly, but if a developer decides not to use a paid tier, Twitter logins will theoretically stop working.

Because of this, you’ll need to make sure you have alternate sign-in methods set up. Many mobile apps allow signing up through Twitter’s API, so we recommend starting there.

The timeframe also means many developers will be caught off guard and unable to warn users ahead of time.

This is a hasty, selfish decision by a company that continues to show it doesn’t care about its users and is in desperate need of money.

How does Twitter’s API paywall affect developers? It’s a double-edged sword. Brian Otten, VP of digital transformation at Axway reached out to KnowTechie and offered us some insight:

“There are definitely two sides to this. On one side, the move underscores the fact that platform companies like Twitter have valuable data that can be commoditized and monetized, and that APIs are the front door to these digital ‘products and services.” Otten writes in an email to KnowTechie.

On the other side, once you ‘open everything’ with APIs, you have to understand that you are building an ecosystem that is essentially coupling to your interfaces and dependencies form. You need to keep your API consumers informed and be able to get insights into their usage – or, even better, give consumers the tools themselves to monitor their usage.”

As of now, it doesn’t seem like Twitter is ready to play ball. An API paywall is coming, and there’s nothing developers can do about it. But if Twitter needs suggestions, Otten offers this pitch:

“Twitter now needs to urgently come up with an API commercialization strategy that puts fairness first while working toward the goal of opening a new revenue stream. There is room for creativity here – such as offering free API access for university and research centers, with potential upper limits or quotas – but again, the move reinforces the need for an API marketplace to manage all this and to do it securely.”

With this decision, the company is showing it is fine with nickel and diming developers, as well.

Have any thoughts on this? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Former KnowTechie editor.

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