#timefortwittertogodark. What should we all move to instead?: Sarah Perez: Twitter company email addresses why it’s #BreakingMyTwitter: "Twitter... sticking up for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones... overrun with bots... breaking... third-party Twitter clients... not taking... responsibility for its decisions... passing the buck. Big time...
...In a company email it shared today, Twitter cited “technical and business constraints” that it can no longer ignore as being the reason behind the APIs’ shutdown. It said the clients relied on “legacy technology” that was still in a “beta state” after more than 9 years, and had to be killed “out of operational necessity.”... It’s not as if there’s some other mysterious force that maintains Twitter’s API platform, and now poor ol’ Twitter is forced to shut down old technology because there’s simply no other recourse. No. Twitter, in fact, is the one responsible for its User Streams and Site Streams APIs–the APIs that serve the core functions of these now deprecated third-party Twitter clients. Twitter is the reason these APIs have been stuck in a beta state for nearly a decade. Twitter is the one that decided not to invest in supporting....
The company’s email also says it hopes to eventually learn “why people hire 3rd party clients over our own apps.” Its own apps? Oh, you mean like TweetDeck, the app Twitter acquired then shut down on Android, iPhone and Windows? The one it generally acted like it forgot it owned? Or maybe you mean Twitter for Mac (previously Tweetie, before its acquisition), the app it shut down this year, telling Mac users to just use the web instead? Or maybe you mean the nearly full slate of TV apps that Twitter decided no longer needed to exist? And Twitter wonders why users don’t want to use its own clients? Perhaps, users want a consistent experience–one that doesn’t involve a million inconsequential product changes like turning stars to hearts or changing the character counter to a circle. Maybe they appreciate the fact that the third parties seem to understand what Twitter is better than Twitter itself does: Twitter has always been about a real-time stream of information. It’s not meant to be another Facebook-style algorithmic News Feed. The third-party clients respect that. Twitter does not....
The question many users are now facing is what to do next? Continue to use now broken third-party apps? Move to an open platform like Mastodon? Switch to Twitter’s own clients, as it wants, where it plans to “experiment with showing alternative viewpoints” to pop people’s echo chambers… on a service that refuses to kick out people like Alex Jones?... Maybe it’s time to go dark. Get off the feeds. Take a break. Move on.
The full email from Twitter is below:
Today, we’re publishing a blog post about our priorities for where we’re investing today in Twitter client experiences. I wanted to share some more with you about how we reached these decisions, and how we’re thinking about 3rd party clients specifically.
First, some history:
3rd party clients have had a notable impact on the Twitter service and the products we build. Independent developers built the first Twitter client for Mac and the first native app for iPhone. These clients pioneered product features we all know and love about Twitter, like mute, the pull-to-refresh gesture, and more.
We love that developers build experiences on our APIs to push our service, technology, and the public conversation forward. We deeply respect the time, energy, and passion they’ve put into building amazing things using Twitter.
But we haven’t always done a good job of being straightforward with developers about the decisions we make regarding 3rd party clients. In 2011, we told developers (in an email) not to build apps that mimic the core Twitter experience. In 2012, we announced changes to our developer policies intended to make these limitations clearer by capping the number of users allowed for a 3rd party client. And, in the years following those announcements, we’ve told developers repeatedly that our roadmap for our APIs does not prioritize client use cases — even as we’ve continued to maintain a couple specific APIs used heavily by these clients and quietly granted user cap exceptions to the clients that needed them.
It is now time to make the hard decision to end support for these legacy APIs—acknowledging that some aspects of these apps would be degraded as a result. Today, we are facing technical and business constraints we can’t ignore. The User Streams and Site Streams APIs that serve core functions of many of these clients have been in a “beta” state for more than 9 years, and are built on a technology stack we no longer support. We’re not changing our rules, or setting out to “kill” 3rd party clients; but we are killing, out of operational necessity, some of the legacy APIs that power some features of those clients. And it has not been a realistic option for us today to invest in building a totally new service to replace these APIs, which are used by less than 1% of Twitter developers.
We’ve heard the feedback from our customers about the pain this causes. We check out #BreakingMyTwitter quite often and have spoken with many of the developers of major 3rd party clients to understand their needs and concerns. We’re committed to understanding why people hire 3rd party clients over our own apps. And we’re going to try to do better with communicating these changes honestly and clearly to developers. We have a lot of work to do. This change is a hard, but important step, towards doing it. Thank you for working with us to get there.