This week, Twitter discreetly announced in a revised developer agreement that it is no longer allowing third-party developers to construct Twitter clients. In a new section labeled “Restrictions,” Twitter expressly forbids developers from making any applications that are “substantially similar” to the Twitter Applications.
Say Goodbye to Tweetbot.
We've been proud to serve you over the last 12+ years, but due to circumstances beyond our control, we have to shut down Tweetbot.
Thank you so much for your patience and outpouring of support over these tough times at Tapbots. https://t.co/PjHePIkCpb pic.twitter.com/e45XXU7ugF
— Tapbots (@tapbots) January 20, 2023
Wording like this essentially prohibits the use of any third-party Twitter program, including but not limited to Tweetbot, Twitterrific, Aviary, Echofon, Birdie, and others.
Last Thursday, Twitter abruptly cut off API access, rendering inoperable popular clients like Tweetbot. At the time, the company gave no explanation for the change. Twitter was silent until Tuesday, when it cryptically said it was implementing its long-standing API limitations. This move might render certain applications inoperable.
Twitter never informed the third-party developers of the impending closure or provided any explanation for any violations of API policies. Turns out Twitter is changing its policy to just prevent third-party clients from working.
Users who relied on third-party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterrific may no longer access the service and must instead use Twitter’s official mobile applications for iOS and Android or the web interface. Twitter will be able to reach all of its users with advertisements if it stops allowing third-party applications to use its platform.
For individuals who want a different user experience than Twitter provides by default, third-party Twitter applications have been available for download for well over a decade. Many Twitter users have found that using a third-party client, rather than the official app or the web interface, provides a more pleasant experience.
No warning was given to developers, and they were unable to notify users who had paid for their applications before the service was terminated. Little more is known about this since Twitter does not have a communications staff.