Monday, January 30, 2023
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Twitter says it’s intentionally blocking apps like Tweetbot


Twitter says some apps aren’t working because the platform is ‘enforcing its long-standing third-party API rules.’ It still hasn’t explained what rules apps are breaking.

Twitter confirmed that it’s purposefully blocking third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterific following days of silence. In a post on Twitter, the company writes that it’s “enforcing its long-standing API rules,” which “may result in some apps not working.”

While the statement confirms suspicions that Twitter had been purposefully locking users out of third-party Twitter clients, it doesn’t even contain a link to the rules that Twitter’s referring to and still doesn’t tell us anything about what’s really going on. This is the first time Twitter’s acknowledging the issue since apps started breaking last Thursday.

Twitter’s vagueness isn’t much of a surprise, given that the company dismantled its communications team as part of CEO Elon Musk’s mass layoffs. One senior Twitter engineer reportedly told employees that the third-party outages are “intentional” but never explained why, according to internal messages obtained by The Information.

The situation has left both developers, who make a living off of these apps, and users, who use them to enhance their Twitter experience, frustrated and confused. While one app, Tweetbot, briefly came back online over the weekend, that was only because co-creator Paul Haddad swapped out its API keys. This put the app in a semi-working state and allowed it to temporarily bypass the ban.

Other Twitter clients, like Albatross and the iOS version of Fenix, continue working, and — again — it’s entirely unclear what these apps are doing that Tweetbot and Twitterific aren’t. It doesn’t look like Twitter’s communicating with developers, either.

“We have still heard nothing from anyone at Twitter on any level,” Tweetbot co-creator Paul Haddad tells The Verge. “If there’s some long-standing rule that we’ve been unknowingly breaking for the last 10+ years, we’d love to know what it is so that, if possible, we can comply with it.”

The Verge reached out to Twitter with a request for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.

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