Several third-party Twitter apps including Tweetbot have been down for days – and a new report suggests that the social network has put customers out of action on purpose. If true, this could be the final insult that sees so many hardcore Twitter users leave for new pastures.
According to some internal Slack messages captured by The Information (Opens in a new tab)However, the continued outages of customer service such as Tweetbot and Twitterific “was deliberate commentary”. While these messages did not explain why Twitter would pull the services, the strong possibility is that they do not help increase ad revenue for the network.
Some third-party clients have ad-free versions, which isn’t exactly helpful at a time when Twitter is trying to make up for lower ad revenue. But Twitter’s continued silence on the issue has only added fuel to growing anger over the situation — and that will only increase if it really is culling third-party apps on a permanent basis.
The complete lack of communication from Twitter has led to some pretty desperate submissions from third party apps. With Tweetbot down again over the weekend, client co-founder Paul Haddad wrote on Mastodon (Opens in a new tab) that it was time to “move to smaller but greener pastures”.
Twitterific (Opens in a new tab)Meanwhile, “there’s no official word on what’s going on”, while talon (Opens in a new tab) She stated that “it looks like Twitter has got support for Talon” and that it is “working to see if there will be a solution to this”. The official Twitter account for Tweetbot suggests not (Opens in a new tab)stating that “we are honored that so many of you have chosen us as your way to browse Twitter for over 12 years.”
We’re trying to get an official answer from Twitter about suspensions visible to third-party apps and will update this article if we hear back. But the persistent silence from the official Twitter account, support account, and Elon Musk’s account so far suggests that the lack of communication is an intentional, albeit misguided, strategy that may end up costing it more users.
Analysis: Twitter’s strained relationship with third-party apps ends naturally
Twitter has had a difficult relationship with third-party apps for several years now — and it seems increasingly likely that it’s ready to sever ties with them entirely.
Just over four years ago, Twitter disabled several key features in apps like Tweetbot, Twitterific, and Talon, including the APIs needed for push notifications. And even back in 2012, the network told developers that they should stay away from building apps that included Twitter’s home timeline.
The reason was that Twitter wanted to focus on growing native first-party apps. But this also collided with the developer-friendly environment that helped give birth to the network and give it a sense of community. Many features, including retweets and hashtags, were inspired by ideas from Twitter users.
In another timeline, Twitter could have fully embraced the ideas and innovations unleashed by outsiders and third parties to help fuel its growth. But under Elon Musk’s watch, the social network is making increasingly user-hostile decisions — like hiding its timeline.
The intentional disabling of many third-party apps is another example of this trend — and may finally see many Twitter users, especially those who remember its relatively idyllic early days, conclude that they are no longer welcome. For many, the likes of Mastodon feel more like home.