New Twitter Rules Spur Online Protests

 

Shortly after Twitter announced a stricter set of rules for its application programming interface (API), developers and engineers turned to platform to use the #OccupyTwitter hashtag in protest.

“Twitter’s API has more rules than North Korea,” said Aaron Levie, CEO of Box.

Nova Spivack, CEO of Bottlenose.com, started a Change.org petition to urge Twitter to keep its developer API ecosystem open. He said, “Twitter, what kind of bird are you becoming? Are you still that cute little bird that everyone loved, or are you becoming a scary bird of prey?”

“Blind people use special third party Twitter apps,” Spivack added on Twitter. “If Twitter closes its APIs they will be cut off.”

While Spivack’s fears might be overblown, it’s clear that Twitter seeks to limit the number of third-party app users by barring apps from supporting more than 100,000 users. If they already over the limit, they will not be allowed to grow beyond 200% of their user base without Twitter’s permission.

Aside from limiting user growth, Twitter will be imposing more stringent authentication rules. It will also compel developers to take a different direction in creating apps by “encouraging” them to focus on engagement and analytics. After the updated API is launched, developers will have a six-month deadline to to migrate to the new version.

Tom Scott, creator of Klouchebag, predicted that the changes would cause his site’s death in six months. “They’re steadily squeezing out third-party clients like Tweetbot, Echofon and Dabr, and they’re removing unauthenticated API calls,” Scott said in a blog entry. “The latter means that every Twitter app, no matter how minor, will require a ‘Sign in with Twitter’ button. For me, the immediate effect of this is that my Klout parody Klouchebag, along with a few other things I’ve designed, will die.”

What do you think of using Twitter as a way to protest against Twitter’s new API? Should developers just accept the new rules without complaint? Let us know in the comments.

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