unnamed (1)

Twitter posted an update on its developer blog today, detailing the changes coming with v1.1 of the Twitter API. In summary, things aren't looking good for any 3rd party Twitter app. In fact, many will find themselves crippled (though not outright banned, it seems).

While some 3rd party Twitter clients like HootSuite seem to be in the clear, the company is making it extremely obvious that it no longer wants such apps to exist. To that end, a number of new limitations on how 3rd party applications can access Twitter will soon be implemented. Here are some of the important ones.

Display Requirements: "...linking @usernames to the appropriate Twitter profile, displaying appropriate Tweet actions (e.g. Retweet, reply and favorite) and scaling display of Tweets appropriately based on the device. If your application displays Tweets to users, and it doesn't adhere to our Display Requirements, we reserve the right to revoke your application key."

User Token Maximum: "... we will require you to work with us directly if you believe your application will need more than one million individual user tokens."

Maximum API Call Limit: "... Most individual API endpoints will be rate limited at 60 calls per hour per-endpoint.... There will be a set of high-volume endpoints related to Tweet display, profile display, user lookup and user search where applications will be able to make up to 720 calls per hour per endpoint."

API Authorization: "... we will require every request to the API to be authenticated."

Those are all big limitations on 3rd party Twitter clients, but there's one more that's really the kicker, the one that promises to basically end all major apps of this kind out there. Here it is:

Additionally, if you are building a Twitter client application that is accessing the home timeline, account settings or direct messages API endpoints (typically used by traditional client applications) or are using our User Streams product, you will need our permission if your application will require more than 100,000 individual user tokens. (emphasis ours)

That requirement will mean the end of any 3rd party Twitter client with more 100,000 users, unless Twitter decides it's better for them to let it stay alive for now. But, in the end, Twitter wants these apps to die, and they say so in no uncertain terms:

Nearly eighteen months ago, we gave developers guidance that they should not build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. And to reiterate what I wrote in my last post, that guidance continues to apply today.

They even give us this handy graph. Everything in the upper right portion is not OK, according to Twitter.


So, kiss pretty much every popular Twitter client that isn't the official Twitter client goodbye (except TweetDeck, of course). This won't happen overnight, though, as the blog post indicates developers will have 6 months from the release of API 1.1 before v1.0 is fully deprecated in March 2013.

It's also entirely possible Twitter will decide the backlash from this decision is far worse than expected and give up on its efforts to kill the 3rd party client ecosystem, but we aren't betting on it.

Twitter Dev Blog

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Bariman43

    If I can't use 3rd party Twitter clients, maybe I shouldn't use Twitter either. Once those Twitter apps stop being supported, I will cease to use Twitter until a change happens.

  • CJ Walker

    If for some reason they take TweetLanes away from me I may just have to delete my account out of spite.

    • Lawliet

      Exactly. If their official app is even half as good, we wouldn't be complaining. Isn't there some kind of anti-competitive law here?

      • Thomas Barrasso

        Hardly, twitter provides the service and thus the right to not provide it. Unfortunately that sucks for all the developers of cool apps like Boid and TweetLanes.

    • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

      Give me TweetLanes or give me death!

      Ok, that may be a little drastic...but seriously, one of the great things about twitter has always been the abundance of 3rd party apps.

  • http://twitter.com/iamtony4life iamtony4life

    if i cant use Tweetcaster, then im done with Twitter. their official app is garbage

    • http://twitter.com/drazyw Chris Allen

      Agreed. Tweetcaster is bad ass. The official app sucks.

    • Abhisshek Das

      good for Google+

  • Matt Lavieri

    Twitter needs to make an app that is an android app then not an iOS clone. If they want 3rd party apps to follow their guidelines they should follow googles design suggestions

  • Justin

    Make a damn tablet Twitter app then Twitter.

    • GazaIan

      This. I don't mind their mobile app but Plume is what I use for tablets, since they forgot that tablets exist.

  • Kurt Wurmser

    Really dumb move on Twitter's part. A thriving ecosystem is something they should want.

    • Mike

      They do want that. They just want to control all of it.

  • http://digg.com/users/OmegaWolf Silver Fang

    That's really bad, especially for those of us who paid for third party clients like TweetCaster Pro, which I adore. It would be a pain to give up Twitter, as it's a great way to reach out to people quickly, but a boycott just may be in order to bring Twitter back into line.

  • c_green38

    SERIOUSLY? If Plume is rendered useless, I'll probably go 100% G+ for my social networking. I cant' stand the native app.

  • Mike

    I'm gonna wait for March to come around to reserve any judgement one way or the other.

  • http://www.facebook.com/williamvebert William Vebert

    Kind of sad the one app that most people will not use is their very own. The official Twitter app sucks. I must have Plume.

  • http://twitter.com/JirafaBo JirafaBo

    So what's the easiest way to complain? We need user complaint, dev complaint is useless bc of course they will complain.

    • FknTwizted

      Download the official twitter app and give it a poor rating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Alden/100000469737019 Christopher Alden

    You know, Twitter, if you don't want people using third-party clients, you could always... I don't know... make an official client that's not shit.

  • KamikaZee

    #boycotttwitter #embraceG+

    Seriously though, g+ seemed always more of a twitter competitor than a fb competitor. So yea, they just paved the way for g+ dominance :o

  • http://twitter.com/MADs_Dad211 Anthony Dunn

    Yea, I have to have Tweetcaster. Hate the web interface and haven't used the Twitter mobile app since I downloaded Tweetcaster 2 years ago. #thisisbunk #longliveTweetcaster

  • miso_sori


  • KP

    I agree with everyone. w/o ubersocial I just won't tweet. I refuse to use twitter's app unless it gets a complete overhaul. plain and simple

  • angrymanhands

    The only reason I use twitter is because of the 3rd party apps. If they restrict that, count me out. All the more reason to use Google+

  • http://www.facebook.com/andresdroid Andres Schmois

    This sucks, I'm making an app that uses Twitter's API to get keyword matching. I'm stuck now. So much for that idea...

  • DavidB

    When people REALLY leave for G+, maybe Twitter will have a change of heart. But until that actually happens they have no real motivation to not head down this path.

  • http://twitter.com/MaW Matthew Walton

    General idea: we don't pay Twitter for the service. They get paid by advertisers. This means they need to have branding, and display control, and ultimately the ability to inject adverts into third-party clients to stay viable. But I'd pay a reasonable fee for an ad-free Twitter experience and I suspect a lot of other people would too. Then maybe we wouldn't have to put up with this. (Hey, Spotify let you write third-party clients for premium account holders, maybe Twitter could try that? Still a backlash, but also could precipitate a drastic shift in their funding model and no need for them to be so overprotective of their image and timeline data).

  • Jorge Ivan Sanchez Gonzalez

    So... I'm still waiting for Carbon

    And it's gone

  • Marc Rasmussen

    To be honest, I wouldn't mind using the official app. But the main reason why I'm using Plume is the scrollable widget which gives me the possibility to see MULTIPLE tweets and not only ONE tweet.

  • http://twitter.com/Manny05 Jay Vallejo

    We might as well call twitter the new apple smh.

  • Sqube

    The official app offers nothing like the functionality of all of these different apps. Given the choice to improve your app or kill all the others, you kill all the others.

    The website is shite. The app is shite. TweetDeck on my PC and Tweet Lanes on my phone are the reason I tweet as often as I do. Take them away and I'm... just not really inclined to be bothered.

  • http://twitter.com/vargus21 Dave Bauer

    Any twitter app that currently has 100,000 users or more is allowed to double that number before not being able to take on any more. The 100,000 currently applies to any new app or apps currently under 100,000 users.

  • http://vertigokeyz.tumblr.com/ Keyz Karanza

    I use Scope Beta for all my posting: Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram. If Twitter wants to be a bunch of dicks and screw with the API so Scope won't work, then they will simply be removed from the list. It isn't like Twitter can do anything that Tumblr can't.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    I'm not defending Twitter here...believe me, I've never liked it, not even as a general service. I only even use it to follow Android Police and a couple of others because most people are more concerned with posting news to Twitter than their own RSS feeds...

    But..........I understand why they are doing this. Twitter needs to make money, and they haven't done a very good job of it over the years. I heard they only recently started breaking even. They've relied on VC money for a long time.

    The business model they are going with is to push advertising to people; this makes sense, nobody wants to pay to use Twitter. The problem is, they don't have a way to push ads through the various 3rd party apps (I have a feeling that might become a part of their business model to allow 3rd party apps to remain alive if the backlash is too severe). The only alternative they see is to kill off every other app so that they ensure people see ads and generate revenue. Twitter doesn't mind if apps publish to Twitter without seeing ads, it only fuels the followers to pop open the website or apps to inevitably see ads.

    As a developer (who will almost certainly never integrate Twitter, I really just dislike them), I really feel for all of those small companies and developers who've invested so much time and money in building very good Twitter clients (especially Rowi, they just built a Windows 8 app that will only be functional for 4 months after the OS launches before the Twitter API goes tits up). It's not that Twitter hasn't given a long and (arguably) proper warning about this change, but they should be investigating other avenues.

  • Simon Belmont

    Kind of ironic. Twitter built itself up on the backs of third party developers who made great Twitter clients.

    Now, they are telling those same developers to take a hike. Classy.

  • http://twitter.com/Soul_Est Nolan Haynes

    No twicca, no twitter

  • Rez™

    So this is why I couldn't reinstall Falcon after having to do a hard reset yesterday. Eff Twitter. Why don't they just buy the best of the best third-party clients, make them paid apps, keep the devs on, and turn a profit - and allow us to keep what we rely upon?